Skip to main content

Full text of "Tales Of A Traveller"

See other formats


. C. 




TALES 



OF 



A TEAVELLEE. 



BY 



WASHINGTON IRVING. 




NEW YORK : 
THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO., 



PBE8B OF 

ftocktoell nntf <ljurcf)Ul f 

BOSTON. 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER 



CONTENTS. 



PART FIRST. 

STRANGE STORIES BY A NERVOUS GENTLEMAN. 

PAGE 
A HUNTING DINNER . . -6 

ADVENTURE OF MY UNCLE. 10 

ADVENTURE OF MY AUNT ... *.. 20 

THE BOLD DRAGOON 24 

ADVENTURE OF THE MYSTERIOUS PICTURE . . 31 

ADVENTURE OF THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER . . . 38 

STORY OF TUB YOUNG ITALIAN 46 

PART SECOND. 

BUCKTHORNS AND HIS FRIENDS. 

LITERARY LIFE 68 

A LITERARY DINNER 70 

THE CLUB OF QUEER FELLOWS 73 

THE POOR DEVIL AUTHOR .... 77 

BUCKTHORNS; OR, THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS 91 

GRAVE REFLECTIONS OF A DISAPPOINTED MAN 128 

THE BOOBY SQUIRE 133 

TUB STROLLING MANAGER 137 

PART THIRD. 

THE ITALIAN BANDITTI. 

THE INN AT TERRACINA 148 

ADVENTURE OF THE LITTLE ANTIQUARY 158 

ADVENTURE OF THE POPKINS FAMILY . . 164 

THE PAINTER'S ADVENTURE 168 

STOUT OF THE BANDIT CHIEFTAIN . 175 

STORY OF THE YOUNG ROBBER ...........184 

8 



4 CONTENTS. 

PART FOURTH. 

THE MONEY DIGGERS. 

PAGE 

HELL GATE 199 

KIDD THE PIRATE 201 

THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER ... 205 

WOLFE KT WEBBER; OR, GOLDEN DREAMS 217 

THE ADVBNTUKK OF SAX, THE BLACK FISHERMAN ..236 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER 



PART FIRST. 
STRANGE STORIES BY A NERVOUS GENTLEMAN. 



I'll tell you more; there was a fish taken, 

A monstrous fish, with a sword by's side, a long sword, 

A pike ill's neck, and a gun in's nose, a huge gun, 

And letters of mart in'B mouth, from the Duke of Florence. 

Cleantht's. This is a monstrous lie. 

Tony. 1 do confess it. 
Do you think I'd tell you truths ? 

FLETCHER'S WIFE POB A MONTIT. 

[The following adventures were related to me by the same 
nervous gentleman who told me the romantic tale of THE STOUT 
GENTLEMAN, published in Bracebridge Hall. 

It is very singular, that although I expressly stated that story 
to have been told to me, and described the very person who 
told it, still it has been received as an adventure that happened 
to myself. Now, I protest I never met with any adventure of 
the kind. 1 should not have grieved at this, had it not been 
intimated by the author of Waverley, in an introduction to his 
romance of Peveril of the Peak, that he was himself the Stout 
Gentleman alluded to. I have ever since been importuned by 
letters and questions from gentlemen, and particularly from 
ladies without number, touching what I had seen of the great 
unknown. 

Now, all this is extremely tantalizing. It is like being con- 
gratulated on the high prize when one has drawn a blank ; for 
I have just as great a desire as any one of the public to pene- 
trate the mystery of that very singular personage, whose voice 
fills every corner of the world, without any one being able to 
tell from whence it comes. He who keeps up such a wonderful 
and whimsical incognito : whom nobody knows, and yet whom 
everybody thinks he can swear to. 



6 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

My friend, the nervous gentleman, also, who is a man of 
very shy, retired habits, complains that he has been excessively 
annoyed in consequence of its getting about in his neighbor- 
hood that he is the fortunate personage. Insomuch, that he has 
become a character of considerable notoriety in two or three 
country towns ; and has been repeatedly teased to exhibit him- 
self at blue-stocking parties, for no other reason than that of 
being "the gentleman who has had a glimpse of the author 
of k Waverley.' " 

Indeed, the poor man has grown ten times as nervous as ever, 
since he has discovered, on such good authority, who the stout 
gentleman was ; and will never forgive himself for not having 
made a more resolute effort to get a full sight of him. He has 
anxiously endeavored to call up a recollection of what he saw 
of that portly personage ; and has ever since kept a curious eye 
on all gentlemen of more than ordinary dimensions, whom he 
has seen getting into stage coaches. All in vain ! The features 
he had caught a glimpse of seem common to the whole race of 
stout gentlemen ; and the great unknown remains as great an 
unknown as ever.] 



A HUNTING DINNER. 

I WAS once at a hunting dinner, given by a worthy fox-hunting 
old Baronet, who kept Bachelor's Hall in jovial style, in an 
ancient rook-haunted family mansion, in one of the middle 
counties. He had been a devoted admirer of the fair sex in his 
young days ; but having travelled much, studied the sex in 
various countries with distinguished success, and returned home 
profoundly instructed, as he supposed, in the ways of woman, 
ami a perfect master of the art of pleasing, he had the mortifi- 
cation of being jilted by a little boarding-school girl, who was 
scarcely versed in the accidence of love. 

The Baronet was completely oveiTOme by such an incredible 
defeat ; retired from the world in disgust, put himself under the 
government of his housekeeper, and took to fox-hunting like a 
perfect Jehu. Whatever poets may say to the contrary, a man 
will grow out of love as he grows old ; and a pack of fox hounds 
may chase out of his heart even the memory of a boarding-school 
goddess. The Baronet was when I saw him as merry and mel- 
low an old bachelor as ever followed a hound ; and the love he 
had once felt for one woman had spread itself over the whole 



A HUNTING DINNER. 7 

sex ; so that there was not a pretty face in the whole country 
round, but came in for a share. 

The dinner was prolonged till a late hour ; for our host hav- 
ing no ladies in his household to summon us to the drawing- 
room, the bottle maintained its true bachelor sway, unrivalled 
by its potent enemy the tea-kettle. The old hall in which we 
dined echoed to bursts of robustious fox-hunting merriment, that 
made the ancient antlers shake on the walls. By degrees, how- 
ever, the wine and wassail of mine host began to operate upon 
bodies already a little jaded by the chase. The choice spirits 
that flashed up at the beginning of the dinner, sparkled for a 
time, then gradually went out one after another, or only emitted 
now and then a faint gleam from the socket. Some of the 
briskest talkers, who had given tongue so bravely at the first 
burst, fell fast asleep ; and none kept on their way but certain 
of those long-winded prosers, who, like short-legged hounds, 
worry on unnoticed at the bottom of conversation, but are 
sure to be in at the death. Even these at length subsided into 
silence ; and scarcely any thing was heard but the nasal com- 
munications of two or three veteran masticators, who, having 
been silent while awake, were indemnifying the company in 
their sleep. 

At length the announcement of tea and coffee in the cedar 
parlor roused all hands from this temporary torpor. Every one 
awoke marvellously renovated, and while sipping the refreshing 
beverage out of the Baronet's old-fashioned hereditary china, 
began to think of departing for their several homes. But here 
a sudden difficulty arose. While we had been prolonging our 
repast, a heavy winter storm had set in, with snow, rain, and 
sleet, driven by such bitter blasts of wind, that they threatened 
to penetrate to the very bone. 

tfc It's all in vain," said our hospitable host, " to think of put- 
ting one's head out of doors in such weather. So, gentlemen, I 
hold you my guests for this night at least, and will have your 
quarters prepared accordingly." 

The unruly weather, which became more and more tempest- 
uous, rendered the hospitable suggestion unanswerable. The 
only question was, whether such an unexpected accession of 
company, to an already crowded house, would not put the 
housekeeper to her trumps to accommodate them. 

" Pshaw," cried mine host, " did you ever know of a Bach- 
elor's Hall that was not elastic, and able to accommodate twice 
as many as it could hold?" So out of a good-humored pique 
the housekeeper was summoned to consultation before us all. 



8 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. I 

The old lady appeared, in her gala suit of faded brocade, which 
rustled with flurry and agitation, for in spite of mine host's 
bravado, she was a little perplexed. But in a bachelor's house, 
and with bachelor guests, these matters are readily managed. 
There is no lady of the house to stand upon squeamish points 
about lodging guests in odd holes and corners, and exposing 
the shabby parts of the establishment. A bachelor's house- 
keeper is used to shifts and emergencies. After much worrying 
to and fro, and divers consultations about the red room, and the 
blue room, and the chintz room, and the damask room, and the 
little room with the bow window, the matter was finally arranged. 

When all this was done, we were once more summoned to the 
standing rural amusement of eating. The time that had been 
consumed in dozing after dinner, and in the refreshment and 
consultation of the cedar parlor, was sufficient, in the opinion 
of the rosy-faced butler, to engender a reasonable appetite for 
supper. A slight repast had therefore been tricked up from the 
residue of dinner, consisting of cold sirloin of beef; hashed 
venison ; a devilled leg of turkey or so, and a few other of 
those light articles taken by country gentlemen to insure sound 
sleep and heavy snoring. 

The nap after dinner had brightened up every one's wit ; and 
a great deal of excellent humor was expended upon the per- 
plexities of mine host and his housekeeper, by certain married 
gentlemen of the company, who considered themselves privi- 
leged in joking with a bachelor's establishment. From this the 
banter turned as to what quarters each would find, on being 
thus suddenly billeted in so antiquated a mansion. 

" By my soul," said an Irish captain of dragoons, one of the 
most merry and boisterous of the party " by my soul, but I 
should not be surprised if some of those good-looking gentle- 
folks that hang along the walls, should walk about the rooms 
of this stormy night ; or if I should find the ghost of one of 
these long-waisted ladies turning into my bed in mistake for her 
grave in the church-yard." 

" Do you believe in ghosts, then?" said a thin, hatchet-faced 
gentleman, with projecting eyes like a lobster. 

I had remarked this last personage throughout dinner-time 
for one of those incessant questioners, who seem to have a 
craving, unhealthy appetite in conversation. He never seemed 
satisfied with the whole of a story ; never laughed when others 
laughed ; but always put the joke to the question. He could 
never enjoy the kernel of the nut, but pestered himself to get 
more out of the shell. 



A HUNTING DINNER. 9 

"Do you believe in ghosts, then? " said the inquisitive gen- 
tleman. 

"Faith, but I do," replied the jovial Irishman; "I was 
brought up in the fear and belief of them ; we had a Beushee 
in our own family, honey." 

" A Benshee and what's that? " cried the questioner. 

" Why an old lady ghost that tends upon your real Milesian 
families, and wails at their window to let them know when some 
of them are to die." 

44 A mighty pleasant piece of information," cried an elderly 
gentleman, with a knowing look and a flexible nose, to which 
he could give a whimsical twist when lie wished to be waggish. 

44 By my soul,. but I'd have you know it's a piece of distinc- 
tion to be waited upon by a Benshee. It's a proof that one has 
pure blood in oue's veins. But, egad, now we're talking of 
ghosts, there never was a house or a night better fitted than the 
present for a ghost adventure. Faith, Sir John, haven't you 
such a thing as a haunted chamber to put a guest in? " 

"Perhaps," said the Baronet, smiling, 44 I might accommo- 
date you even on that point." 

"Oh, I should like it of all things, my jewel. Some dark 
oaken room, with ugly woe- begone portraits that stare dismally 
at one, and about which the housekeeper has a power of delight- 
ful stones of love and murder. And then a dim lamp, a table 
with a rusty sword across it, and a spectre all in white to draw 
aside one's curtains at midnight " 

4 'In truth," said an old gentleman at one end of the table, 
4 ' you put me in mind of an anecdote ' ' 

"Oh, a ghost story ! a ghost story ! " was vociferated round 
the board, every one edging his chair a little nearer. 

The attention of the whole company was now turned upon 
the speaker. He was an old gentleman, one side of whose face 
was no match for the other. The eyelid drooped and hung 
down like an unhinged window shutter. Indeed, the whole side 
of his head was dilapidated, and seemed like the wing of a 
house shut up and haunted. I'll warrant that side was well 
stuffed with ghost stories. 

There was a universal demand for the tale. 

44 Nay," said the old gentleman, "it's a mere anecdote 
and a very commonplace one ; but such as it is you shall have 
it. It is a story that I once heard my uncle tell when 1 was a 
boy. But whether as having happened to himself or to another, 
I cannot recollect. But no matter, it's very likely it happened 
to himself, for he was a man very apt to meet with strange 



10 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

adventures. I have heard him tell of others much more singu- 
lar. At any rate, we will suppose it happened to himself." 

44 What kind of man was your uncle? " said the questioning 
gentleman. 

kfc Why, he was rather a dry, shrewd kind of body; a great 
traveller, and fond of telling his adventures." 

44 Pray, how old might he have been when this happened? " 

44 When what happened? " cried the gentleman with the flexi- 
ble nose, impatiently " Egad, you have not given any thing a 
chance to happen come, never mind our uncle's age ; let us 
have his adventures." 

The inquisitive gentleman being for the moment silenced, the 
old gentleman with the haunted head proceeded. 



THE ADVENTURE OF MY UNCLE. 

MANY years since, a long time before the French revolution, 
my uncle had passed several months at Paris. The English 
and French were on better terms, in those days, than at present, 
and mingled cordially together in society.. The English went 
abroad to spend money then, and the French were always ready 
to help them : they go abroad to save money at present, and 
that they can do without French assistance. Perhaps the travel- 
ling English were fewer and choicer then, than at present, when 
the whole nation has broke loose, and inundated the continent. 
At any rate, they circulated more readily and currently in for- 
eign society, and my uncle, during his residence in Paris, made 
many very intimate acquaintances among the French noblesse. 

Some time afterwards, he was making a journey in the 
winter-time, in that part of Normandy called the Pays de Caux, 
when, as evening was closing in, he perceived the turrets of an 
ancient chateau rising out of the trees of its walled park, each 
turret with its high conical roof of gray slate, like a candle 
with an extinguisher on it. 

44 To whom does that chateau belong, friend ? " cried my uncle 
to a meagre, but fiery postilion, who, witli tremendous jack 
boots and cocked hat, was floundering on before him. 

44 To Monseigneur the Marquis de ," said the postilion, 

touching his hat, partly out of respect to my uncle, and partly 
out of reverence to the noble name pronounced. My uncle 
recollected the Marquis for a particular friend in Paris, who 



THE ADVENTURE OF MY UNCLE. 11 

had often expressed a wish to see him at his paternal chateau. 
My- uncle was an old traveller, one that knew how to turn 
things to account. He revolved for a few moments in his mind 
how agreeable it would be to his friend the Marquis to be sur- 
prised in this sociable way by a pop visit ; and how much more 
agreeable to himself to get into snug quarters in a chateau, and 
have a relish of the Marquis's well-known kitchen, and a smack 
of his superior champagne and burgundy ; rather than take up 
with the miserable lodgement, and miserable fare of a country 
inn. In a few minutes, therefore, the meagre postilion was 
cracking his whip like a very devil, or like a true Frenchman, 
up the long straight avenue that led to the chateau. 

You have no doubt all seen French chateaux, as everybody 
travels in France nowadays. This was one of the oldest ; stand- 
ing naked and alone, in the midst of a desert of gravel walks 
and cold stone terraces ; with a cold-looking formal garden, 
cut into angles and rhomboids ; and a cold leafless park, divided 
geometrically by straight alleys ; and two or three noseless, 
cold-looking statues without any clothing ; and fountains spout- 
ing cold water enough to make one's teeth chatter. At least, 
such was the feeling they imparted on the wintry day of my 
uncle's visit ; though, in hot summer weather, I'll warrant there 
was glare enough to scorch one's eyes out. 

The smacking of the postilion's whip, which grew more and 
more intense the nearer they approached, frightened a flight 
of pigeons out of the dove-cote, and rooks out of the roofs ; and 
finally a crew of servants out of the chateau, with the Marquis 
at their head. He was enchanted to see my uncle ; for his 
chateau, like the house of our worthy host, had not many more 
guests at the time than it could accommodate. So he kissed my 
uncle on each cheek, after the French fashion, and ushered him 
into the castle. 

The Marquis did the honors of his hfmae with the urbanity of 
his country. In fact, he was proud of his old family chateau ; 
for part of it was extremely old. There was a tower and chapel 
that had been built almost before the memory of man ; but the 
rest was more modern ; the castle having been nearly demolished 
during the wars of the League. The Marquis dwelt upon this 
event with great satisfaction, and seemed really to entertain a 
grateful feeling towards Henry IV., for having thought his 
paternal mansion worth battering down. He had many stories 
to tell of the prowess of his ancestors, and several skull-caps, 
helmets, and cross-bows to show ; and divers huge boots and 
buff jerkins, that had been worn by the Leaguers. Above all, 



12 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

there was a two-handled sword, which he could hardly wield ; 
but which he displayed as a proof that there had been giants in 
his family. 

In truth, he was but a small descendant from such great 
warriors. When you looked at their bluff visages and brawny 
limbs, as depicted in their portraits, and then at the little 
Marquis, with his spindle shanks ; his sallow lantern visage, 
flanked with a pair of powdered ear-locks, or atles de pigeon, 
that seemed ready to fly away with it ; you would hardly believe 
him to be of the same race. But when you looked at the eyes 
that sparkled out like a beetle's from each side of his hooked 
nose, you saw at once that he inherited all the fiery spirit of his 
forefathers. In fact, a Frenchman's spirit never exhales, how- 
ever his body may dwindle. It rather rarefies, and grows more 
inflammable, as the earthly particles diminish ; and 1 have seen 
valor enough in a little fiery-hearted French dwarf, to have 
furnished out a tolerable giant. 

When once the Marquis, as he was wont, put on one of the 
old helmets that were stuck up in his hall ; though his head no 
more filled it than a dry pea its peascod : yet his eyes sparkled 
from the bottom of the iron cavern with the brilliancy of car- 
buncles, and when he poised the ponderous two-handled sword 
of his ancestors, you would have thought you saw the doughty 
little David wielding the sword of Goliah, which was unto him 
like a weaver's beam. 

However, gentlemen, I am dwelling too long on this descrip- 
tion of the Marquis and his chateau ; but you must excuse me ; 
he was an old friend of my uncle's, and whenever my uncle 
told the story, he was always fond of talking a great deal about 
his host. Poor little Marquis ! He was one of that handful of 
gallant courtiers, who made such a devoted but hopeless stand 
in the cause of their sovereign, in the chateau of the Tuileries, 
against the irruption of the mob, on the sad tenth of August. 
He displayed the valor of a preux French chevalier to the last ; 
flourished feebly his little court sword with a a-a / in face of 
a whole legion of sans-culottes ; but was pinned to the wall like 
a butterfly, by the pike of a poissarde, and his heroic soul was 
borne up to heaven on his alles de pigeon. 

But all this has nothing to do with my story ; to the point 
then : When the hour arrived for retiring for the night, my 
uncle was shown to his room, in a venerable old tower. It was 
the oldest part of the chateau, and had in ancient times been the 
donjon or stronghold ; of course the chamber was none of the 
best. The Marquis had put him there, however, because he 



THE ADVENTURE OF NT UNCLE. 18 

knew him to be a traveller of taste, and fond of antiquities ; 
and also because the better apartments were already occupied. 
Indeed, he perfectly reconciled my uncle to his quarters by 
mentioning the great personages who had once inhabited them, 
all of whom were in some way or other connected with the 
family. If you would take his word for it, John Baliol, or, as 
he called him, Jean cle Bailleul, had died of chagrin in this 
very chamber on hearing of the success of his rival, Robert the 
Bruce, at the battle of Bannockburn ; and when he added that 
the Duke de Guise had slept in it during the wars of the 
League, my uncle was fain to felicitate himself upon being hon- 
ored with such distinguished quarters. 

The night was shrewd and windy, and the chamber none of 
the warmest. An old, long-faced, long-bodied servant in quaint 
livery, who attended upon my uncle, threw down an armful of 
wood beside the fireplace, gave a queer look about the room, 
and then wished him bon repos, with a grimace and a shrug that 
would have been suspicious from any other than an old French 
servant. The chamber had indeed a wild, crazy look, enough 
to strike any one who had read romances with apprehension and 
foreboding. The windows were high and narrow, and had once 
been loop-holes, but had been rudely enlarged, as well as the 
extreme thickness of the walls would permit ; and the ill-fitted 
casements rattled to eveiy breeze. You would have thought, 
on a windy night, some of the old Leaguers were tramping and 
clanking about the apartment in their huge boots and rattling 
spurs. A door which stood ajar, and like a true French door 
would stand ajar, in spite of every reason and effort to the con- 
trary, opened upon a long, dark corridor, that led the Lord 
knows whither, and seemed just made for ghosts to air them- 
selves in, when they turned out of their graves at midnight. 
The wind would spring up into a hoarse murmur through this 
passage, and creak the door to and fro, as if some dubious 
ghost were balancing in its mind whether to come in or not. In 
a word, it was precisely the kind of comfortless apartment that 
a ghost, if ghost there were in the chateau, would single out for 
its favorite lounge. 

My uncle, however, though a man accustomed to meet with 
strange adventures, apprehended none at the time. He made 
several attempts to shut the door, but in vain. Not that he 
apprehended any thing, for he was too old a traveller to be 
daunted by a wild-looking apartment ; but the night, as I have 
said, was cold and gusty, something like the present, and the 
wind howled about the old turret, pretty much as it does round 



14 TALES OF A TRAVELLEH. 

r:is old mansion at this moment ; and the breeze from the long 
dark corridor came in as damp and chilly as if from a dungeon. 
My uncle, therefore, sinefc he could not close the door, threw a 
quantity of wood on the fire, which soon sent up a flame in the 
great wide-mouthed chimney that illumined the whole chamber, 
and made the shadow of the tongs on the opposite wall, look like 
a long-legged giant. My uncle now clambered on top of the 
half score of mattresses which form a French bed, and which 
stood in a deep recess ; then tucking himself snugly in, and 
burying himself up to the chin in the bed-clothes, he lay looking 
at the fire, and listening to the wind, and chuckling to think 
how knowingly he had come over his friend the Marquis for a 
night's lodgings : and so he fell asleep. 

He had not taken above half of his first nap, when he was 
awakened by the clock of the chateau, in the turret over his 
chamber, which struck midnight. It was just such an old clock 
as ghosts are fond of. It had a deep, dismal tone, and struck 
so slowly and tediously that my uncle thought it would never 
have done. He counted and counted till he was confident he 
counted thirteen, and then it stopped. 

The fire had burnt low, and the blaze of the last fagot was 
almost expiring, burning in small blue flames, which now and 
then lengthened up into little white gleams. My uncle lay witli 
his eyes half closed, and his nightcap drawn almost down to his 
nose. His fancy was already wandering, and began to mingle 
up the present scene with the crater of Vesuvius, the French 
opera, the Coliseum at Rome, Dolly's chop-house in London, 
and all the farrago of noted places with which the brain of a 
traveller is crammed in a word, he was just falling asleep. 

Suddenly he was aroused by the sound of footsteps that 
appeared to be slowly pacing along the corridor. My uncle, as 
I have often heard him say himself, was a man not easily fright- 
ened ; so he lay quiet, supposing that this might be some other 
guest ; or some servant on his way to bed. The footsteps, how- 
ever, approached the door ; the door gently opened ; whether 
of its own accord, or whether pushed open, my uncle could not 
distinguish : a figure all in white glided in. It was a female, 
tall and stately in person, and of a most commanding air. Her 
dress was of an ancient fashion, ample in volume and sweeping 
the floor. She walked up to the fireplace without regarding my 
tmH.e ; who raised his nightcap with one hand, and stared ear- 
nestly at her. She remained for some time standing by the fire, 
which flashing up at intervals cast blue and white gleams of 
light that enabled my uncle to remark her appearance minutely. 



THE ADVENTURE OF MY UNCLE. 15 

Her face was ghastly pale, and perhaps rendered still more 
so by the bluish light of the fire. It possessed beauty, but its 
beauty was saddened by care and anxiety. There was the look 
of one accustomed to trouble, but of one whom trouble could 
not cast down nor subdue ; for there was still the predominat- 
ing air of proud, unconquerable resolution. Such, at least, was 
the opinion formed by my uncle, and he considered himself a 
great physiognomist. 

The figure remained, as I said, for some time by the fire, put- 
ting out first one hand, then the other, then each foot, alter- 
nately, as if warming itself ; for your ghosts, if ghost it really 
was, are apt to be cold. My uncle furthermore remarked that 
it wore high-heeled shoes, after an ancient fashion, with paste or 
diamond buckles, that sparkled as though they were alive. At 
length the figure turned gently round, casting a glassy look about 
the apartment, which, as it passed over my uncle, made his blood 
run cold, and chilled the very marrow in his bones. It then 
stretched its arms toward heaven, clasped its hands, and wring- 
ing them in a supplicating manner, glided slowly out of the room. 

My uncle lay for some time meditating on this visitation, for (as 
he remarked when he told me the story) though a man of firm- 
ness, he was also a man of reflection, and did not reject a thing 
because it was out of the regular course of events. "However, 
being, as I have before said, a great traveller, and accustomed to 
strange adventures, he drew his nightcap resolutely over his eyes, 
turned his back to the door, hoisted the bedclothes high over his 
shoulders, and gradually fell asleep. 

How long he slept he could not say, when he was awakened by 
the voice of some one at his bedside. He turned round and 
beheld the old French servant, with his ear-locks in tight buckles 
on each side of a long, lantern face, on which habit had deeply 
wrinkled an everlasting smile. He made a thousand grimaces, 
and asked a thousand pardons for disturbing Monsieur, but the 
morning was considerably advanced. While my uncle was dress- 
ing, he called vaguely to mind the visitor of the preceding night. 
He asked the ancient domestic what lady was in the habit of 
rambling about this part of the chateau at night. The old valet 
shrugged his shoulders as high as his head, laid one hand on his 
bosom, threw open the other with every finger extended ; made a 
most whimsical grimace, which he meant to be complimentary : 

44 It was not for him to know any thing of les braves fortunes 
of Monsieur." 

My uncle saw there was nothing satisfactory to be learnt In 
this quarter. After breakfast he was walking with the Marquis 



16 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

through the modern apartments of the chateau ; sliding over the 
well-waxed floors of silken saloons, amidst furniture rich in gild- 
ing and brocade ; until they came to a long picture gallery, con- 
taining many portraits, some in oil and some in chalks. 

Here was an ample field for the eloquence of his host, who had 
all the family pride of a nobleman of the widen regime. There 
was not a grand name in Normandy, and hardly one in France, 
that was not, in some way or other, connected with his house. 
My uncle stood listening with inward impatience, resting some- 
times on one leg, sometimes on the other, as the little Marquis 
descanted, with his usual fire and vivacity, on the achievements 
of his ancestors, whose portraits hung along the wall ; from the 
martial deeds of the stern warriors in steel, to the gallantries and 
intrigues of the blue-eyed gentlemen, with fair smiling faces, 
powdered ear-locks, laced ruffles, and pink and blue silk coats 
and breeches ; not forgetting the conquests of the lovely shep- 
herdesses, with hoop petticoats and waists no thicker than an 
hourglass, who appeared ruling over their sheep and their swains 
with dainty crooks decorated with fluttering ribbons. 

In the midst of his friend's discourse my uncle's eyes rested 
on a full-length portrait, which struck him as being the very 
counterpart of his visitor of the preceding night. 

"Methinks," said he, pointing to it, " I have seen the origi- 
nal of this portrait/' 

44 Pardonnez moi, " replied the Marquis politely, "that can 
hardly be, as the lady has been dead more than a hundred years. 
That was the beautiful Duchess de Longueville, who figured 
during the minority of Louis the Fourteenth." 

u And was there any thing remarkable in her history? " 

Never was question more unlucky. The little Marquis im- 
mediately threw himself into the attitude of a man about to tell 
a long story. In fact, my uncle had pulled upon himself the 
whole history of the civil war of the Fronde, in which the beau- 
tiful Duchess had played so distinguished a part. Turenne, 
Coligni, Mazarin, were called up from their graves to grace his 
narration ; nor were the affairs of the Barricadoes, nor the chiv- 
alry of the Port Cocheres forgotten. My uncle began to wish 
himself a thousand leagues off from the Marquis and his merci- 
less memory, when suddenly the little man's recollections took 
a more interesting turn. He was relating the imprisonment of 
the Duke de Longueville, with the Princes Cond6 and Conti, in 
the chateau of Vincennes, and the ineffectual efforts of the Duch- 
ess to rouse the sturdy Normans to their rescue. He had come to 
that part where she was invested by the royal forces in the 



THE ADVENTURE OF MY UNCLE. IT 

chateau of Dieppe, and in imminent danger of falling into their 
hands. 

" The spirit of the Duchess," proceeded the Marquis, u rose 
with her trials. It was astonishing to see so delicate and beau- 
tiful a being buffet so resolutely with hardships. She deter- 
mined on a desperate means of escape. One dark unruly night, 
she issued secretly out of a small postern gate of the castle, 
which the enemy had neglected to guard. She was followed by 
her female attendants, a few domestics, and some gallant cava- 
liers who still remained faithful to her fortunes. Her object was 
to gain a small port about two leagues distant, where she had 
privately provided a vessel for her escape in case of emergency. 

4 'The little baud of fugitives were obliged to perform the dis- 
tance on foot. When they arrived at the port the wind was 
high and stormy, the tide contrary, the vessel anchored far off 
in the road, and no means of getting on board, but by a fishing 
shallop that lay tossing like a cockle shell on the edge of the 
surf. The Duchess determined to risk the attempt. The sea- 
men endeavored to dissuade her, but the imminence of her dan- 
ger on shore, arid the magnanimity of her spirit urged her on. 
She had to be borne to the shallop in the arms of a mariner. 
Such was the violence of the wind and waves, that he faltered, 
lost his foothold, and let his precious burden fall into the sea. 

"The Duchess was nearly drowned ; but partly through her 
own struggles, partly by the exertions of the seamen, she got 
to land. As soon as she had a little recovered strength, she 
insisted on renewing the attempt. The storm, however, had 
by this time become so violent as to set all efforts at defiance. 
To delay, was to be discovered and taken prisoner. As the only 
resource left, she procured horses ; mounted with her female 
attendants en croupe behind the gallant gentlemen who accom- 
panied her ; and scoured the country to seek some temporary 
asylum. 

" While the Duchess, " continued the Marquis, laying his fore- 
finger on my uncle *s breast to arouse his flagging attention, 
" while the Duchess, poor lady, was wandering amid the tem- 
pest in this disconsolate manner, she arrived at this chateau. 
Her approach caused some uneasiness ; for the clattering of a 
troop of horse, at dead of night, up the avenue of a lonely cha- 
teau, in those unsettled times, and in a troubled part of the 
country, was enough to occasion alarm. 

"* A tall, broad-shouldered chasseur, armed to the teeth, gal- 
loped ahead, and announced the name of the visitor. All un- 
easiness was dispelled. The household turned out with flam- 



18 TALES OF A TEA VELLEE. 

beaux to receive her, and never did torches gleam on a more 
weather-beaten, travel-stained band than came tramping into 
the court. Such pale, care-worn faces, such bedraggled dresses, 
as the poor Duchess and her females presented, each seated be- 
hind her cavalier ; while half drenched, half drowsy pages and 
attendants seemed ready to fall from their horses with sleep and 
fatigue. 

"The Duchess was received with a hearty welcome by my 
ancestors. She was ushered into the Hall of the chateau, and 
the fires soon crackled and blazed to cheer herself and her train ; 
and every spit and stewpan was put in requisition to prepare 
ample refreshments for the wayfarers. 

44 She had a right to our hospitalities," continued the little 
Marquis, drawing himself up witli a slight degree of stateliness, 
44 for she was related to our family. I'll tell you how it was: 
Her father, Henry de Bourbon, Prince of Cond6 " 

44 But did the Duchess pass the night in the chateau?" said 
my uncle rather abruptly, terrified at the idea of getting involved 
in one of the Marquis's genealogical discussions. 

44 Oh, as to the Duchess, she was put into the apartment you 
occupied last night ; which, at that time, was a kind of state 
apartment. Her followers were quartered in the chambers 
opening upon the neighboring corridor, and her favorite page 
slept in an adjoining closet. Up and down the corridor walked 
the great chasseur, who had announced her arrival, and who 
acted as a kind of sentinel or guard. He was a dark, stern, 
powerful-looking fellow, and as the light of the lamp in the 
corridor fell upon his deeply-marked face and sinewy form, he 
seemed capable of defending the castle with his single arm. 

44 It was a rough, rude night ; about this time of the year. 
Apropos now 1 think of it, last night was the anniversary of 
her visit. I may well remember the precise date, for it was a 
night not to be forgotten by our house. There is a singular 
tradition concerning it in our family." Here the Marquis hesi- 
tated, and a cloud seemed to gather about his bushy eyebrows. 
44 There is a tradition that a strange occurrence took place 
that night a strange, mysterious, inexplicable occurrence." 

Here he checked himself and paused. 

44 Did it relate to that lady? " inquired my uncle, eagerly. 

44 It was past the hour of midnight," resumed the Marquis 
44 when the whole chateau " 

Here he paused again my uncle made a movement of anx- 
ious curiosity. 

44 Excuse me," said the Marquis a slight blush streaking 



THE ADVENTURE OF MY UNCLE. 19 

his sullen visage: "There are some circumstances connected 
with our family history which I do not like to relate. That was 
a rude period. A time of great crimes among great men : for 
you know high blood, when it runs wrong, will not run tamely 
like blood of the canaille poor lady ! But I have a little 
family pride, that excuse me we will change the subject if 
you please." 

My uncle's curiosity was piqued. The pompous and magnifi- 
cent introduction had led him to expect something wonderful 
in the story to which it served as a kind of avenue. He had no 
idea of being cheated out of it by a sudden fit of unreasonable 
squeamishness. Besides, being a traveller in quest of informa- 
tion, he considered it his duty to inquire into every thing. 

The Marquis, however, evaded every question. 

44 Well," said my uncle, a little petulantly, " whatever you 
may think of it, I 3aw that lady last night." 

The Marquis stepped back and gazed at him with surprise. 
" She paid me a visit in my bed-chamber." 

The Marquis pulled out his snuff-box with a shrug and a 
smile ; taking it no doubt for an awkward piece of English 
pleasantry, which politeness required him to be charmed with. 
My uncle went on gravely, however, and related the whole cir- 
cumstance. The Marquis heard him through with profound 
attention, holding his snuff-box unopened in his hand. When 
the story was finished he tapped on the lid of his box deliber- 
ately ; took a long sonorous pinch of snuff 

44 Bah ! " said the Marquis, and walked toward the other end 
of the gallery. 

Here the narrator paused. The company waited for some 
time for him to resume his narrative ; but he continued silent. 

44 Well," said the inquisitive gentleman, " and what did your 
uncle say then ? ' ' 

44 Nothing," replied the other. 

" And what did the Marquis say farther? " 

"Nothing." 

"And is that all?" 

" That is all," said the narrator, filling a glass of wine. 

" I surmise," said the shrewd old gentleman with the waggish 
nose "I surmise it was the old housekeeper walking her 
rounds to see that all was right. ' ' 

44 Bah ! " said the narrator, " my uncle was too much accus- 
tomed to strange sights not to know a ghost from a house- 
keeper!" 



20 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

There was a murmur round the table half of merriment, half 
of disappointment. I was inclined to think the old gentleman 
had really an after-part of his story in reserve ; but he sipped 
his wine and said nothing more ; and there was an odd expres- 
sion about his dilapidated countenance that left me in doubt 
whether he were in drollery or earnest. " 

" Egad," said the knowing gentleman with the flexible nose, 
"this story of your uncle puts me in mind of one that used to 
be told of an aunt of mine, by the mother's side ; though I don't 
know that it will bear a comparison ; as the good lady was not 
quite so prone to meet with strange adventures. But at any 
rate, you shall have it." 



THE ADVENTURE OF MY AUNT. 

MY aunt was a lady of large frame, strong mind, and great 
resolution ; she was what might be termed a very manly woman. 
My uncle was a thin, puny little man, very meek and acquiescent, 
and no match for my aunt. Jt was observed that he dwindled 
and dwindled gradually away, from the day of his marriage. 
His wife's powerful mind was too much for him ; it wore him 
out. My aunt, however, took all possible care of him, had half 
the doctors in town to prescribe for him, made him take all their 
prescriptions, willy rally, and dosed him with physic enough to 
cure a whole hospital. All was in vain. My uncle grew worse 
and worse the more dosing and nursing lie underwent, until in 
the end he added another to the long list of matrimonial victims, 
who have been killed with kindness. 

"And was it his ghost that appeared to her?" asked the in- 
quisitive gentleman, who had questioned the former story-teller. 

4% You shall hear," replied the narrator: My aunt took on 
mightily for the death of her poor dear husband ! Perhaps she 
felt some compunction at having given him so much physic, and 
nursed him into his grave. At any rate, she did all that a widow 
could do to honor his memory. She spared no expense in either 
the quantity or quality of her mourning weeds ; she wore a mini- 
ature of him al)out her neck, as large as a little sun dial ; and 
she had a full-length portrait of him always hanging in her bed- 
chamber. All the world extolled her conduct to the skies ; and 
it was determined, that a woman who behaved so well to the 
memory of one husband, deserved soon to get another. 

It was not long after this that she went to take up her real' 



THE ADVENTURE OF MY AUNT. 21 

dence in an old country seat in Derbyshire, which had long been 
in the care of merely a steward and housekeeper. She took 
most of her servants with her, intending to make it her princi- 
pal abode. The house stood in a lonely, wild part of the coun- 
try, among the gray Derbyshire hills ; with a murderer hanging 
in chains on a bleak height in full view. 

The servants from town were half frightened out of their wits, 
at the idea of liviug in such a dismal, pagan-looking place ; espe- 
cially when they got together in the servants' hall in the evening, 
and compared notes on all the hobgoblin stories they had picked 
up in the course of the day. They were afraid to venture alone 
about the forlorn black-looking chambers. My ladies' maid, who 
was troubled with nerves, declared she could never sleep alone 
in such a " gashly, rummaging old building ; " and the footman^ 
who was a kind-hearted young fellow, did all in his power to 
cheer her up. 

My aunt, herself, seemed to be struck with the lonely appear- 
ance of the house. Before she went to bed, therefore, she ex- 
amined well the fastenings of the doors and windows, locked up 
the plate with her own hands, and carried the keys, together with 
a little box of money and jewels, to her own room ; for she was 
a notable woman, and always saw to all things herself. Having 
put the keys under her pillow, and dismissed her maid, she sat 
by her toilet arranging her hair ; for, being, in spite of her grief 
for my uncle, rather a buxom widow, she was a little particular 
about her person. She sat for a little while looking at her face 
in the glass, first on one side, then on the other, as ladies are 
apt to do, when they would ascertain if they have been in good 
looks ; for a roistering country squire of the neighborhood, with 
whom she had flirted when a girl, had called that day to welcome 
her to the country. 

All of a sudden she thought she heard something move behind 
her. She looked hastily round, but there was nothing to be seen. 
Nothing but the grimly painted portrait of her poor dear man, 
which had been hung against the wall. She gave a heavy sigh 
to his memory, as she was accustomed to do, whenever she spoke 
of him in company ; and went on adjusting her night-dress. Her 
sigh was re-echoed ; or answered by a long-drawn breath. She 
looked round again, but no one was to be seen. She ascribed 
these sounds to the wind, oozing through the rat-holes of the 
old mansion ; and proceeded leisurely to put her hair in papers, 
when, all at once, she thought she perceived one of the eyes of 
the portrait move. 

"The back of her head being towards it! " said the story* 



22 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 



teller with the ruined head, giving a knowing wink on the sound 
side of his visage " good ! " 

64 Yes, sir!" replied dryly the narrator, " her back being 
towards the portrait, but her eye fixed on its reflection in the 
glass." 

Weil, as I was saying, she perceived one of the eyes of the 
portrait move. So strange a circumstance, as you may well 
suppose, gave her a sudden shock. To assure herself cautiously 
of the fact, she put one hand to her forehead, as if rubbing it ; 
peeped through her fingers, and moved the candle with the other 
hand. The light of the taper gleamed on the eye, and was re- 
flected from it. She was sure it moved. Nay, more, it seemed 
to give her a wink, as she had sometimes known her husband to 
do when living ! It struck a momentary chill to her heart ; for 
she was a lone woman, and felt herself fearfully situated. 

The chill was but transient. My aunt, who was almost as 
resolute a personage as your uncle, sir, (turning to the old 
story-teller,) became instantly calm and collected. She went 
on adjusting her dress. She even hummed a favorite air, and 
did not make a single false note. She casually overturned a 
dressing-box ; took a candle and picked up the articles leisurely, 
one by one, from the floor, pursued a rolling pin-cushion that 
was making the best of its way under the bed ; then opened the 
door ; looked for an instant into the corridor, as if in doubt 
whether to go ; and then walked quietly out. 

She hastened down-stairs, ordered the servants to arm them- 
selves with the first weapons that came to hand, placed herself 
at their head, and returned almost immediately. 

Her hastily levied army presented a formidable force. The 
steward had a rusty blunderbuss ; the coachman a loaded whip ; 
the footman a pair of horse pistols ; the cook a huge chopping 
knife, and the butler a bottle in each hand. My aunt led the 
van with a red-hot poker ; and, in my opinion, she was the 
most formidable of the party. The waiting maid brought up 
the rear, dreading to stay alone in the servants' hall, smelling 
to a broken bottle of volatile salts, and expressing her terror of 
the ghosteses. 

u Ghosts ! " said my aunt resolutely, "I'll singe their whisk- 
ers for them ! " 

They entered the chamber. All was still and undisturbed 
as when she left it. They approached the portrait of my 
uncle. 

" Pull me down that picture ! " cried my aunt. 

A heavy groan, and a sound like the chattering of teeth, was 



THE ADVENTURE OF MY AUNT. 23 

heard from the portrait. The servants shrunk back. The maid 
uttered a faint shriek, and clung to the footman. 

44 Instantly ! " added my aunt, with a stamp of the foot. 

The picture was pulled down, and from a recess behind it, in 
which had formerly stood a clock, they hauled forth a round- 
shouldered, black-bearded varlet, with a knife as long as my 
arm, but trembling all over like an aspen leaf. 

44 Well, and who was he? No ghost, I suppose! " said the 
inquisitive gentleman. 

44 A knight of the post," replied the narrator, 44 who had been 
smitten with the worth of the wealthy widow ; or rather a 
marauding Tarquin, who had stolen into her chamber to violate 
her purse and rifle her strong box when all the house should be 
asleep. In plain terms," continued he, u the vagabond was a 
loose idle fellow of the neighborhood, who had once been a 
servant in the house, and had been employed to assist in arran- 
ging it for the reception of its mistress. He confessed that he 
had contrived his hiding-place for his nefarious purposes, and 
had borrowed an eye from the portrait by way of a reconnoi- 
tring hole." 

44 And what did they do with him did they hang him?" 
resumed the questioner. 

44 Hang him? how could they ? " exclaimed a beetle-browed 
barrister, with a hawk's nose " the offence was not capital 
no robbery or assault had been committed no forcible entry 
or breaking into the premises " 

44 My aunt," said the narrator, 44 was a woman of spirit, and 
apt to take the law into her own hands. She had her own 
notions of cleanliness also. She ordered the fellow to be 
drawn through the horsepond to cleanse away all offences, and 
then to be well rubbed down with an oaken towel." 

44 And what became of him afterwards?" said the inquisi- 
tive gentleman. 

44 1 do not exactly know I believe he was sent on a voyage 
of improvement to Botany Bay." 

44 And your aunt "said the inquisitive gentleman 44 I'll 
warrant she took care to make her maid sleep in the room with 
her after that." 

44 No, sir, she did better she gave her hand shortly after to 
the roistering squire ; for she used to observe it was a dismal 
thing for a woman to sleep alone in the country." 

fc4 She was right," observed the inquisitive gentleman, nod- 
ding his head sagaciously 44 but I am sorry they did not hang 
that fellow." 



24 TALKS OF A TRAVELLER. 

It was agreed on all hands that the last narrator had brought 
his tale to the most satisfactory conclusion ; though a country 
clergyman present regretted that the uncle and aunt, who 
figured in the different stories, had not been married together. 
They certainly would have been well matched. 

"But I don't see, after all," said the inquisitive gentleman, 
u that there was any ghost in this last story." 

" Oh, if it's ghosts you want, honey," cried the Irish captain 
of dragoons, "if it's ghosts you want, you shall have a whole 
regiment of them. And since these gentlemen have been 
giving the adventures of their uncles and aunts, faith and I'll 
e'en give you a chapter too, out of my own family history." 



THE BOLD DRAGOON; 

OR THE ADVENTURE OF MY GRANDFATHER. 

My grandfather was a bold dragoon, for it's a profession, d'ye 
see, that has run in the family. All my forefathers have been 
dragoons and died upon the field of honor except myself, and 
I hope my posterity may be able to say the same ; however, I 
don't mean to be vainglorious. Well, my grandfather, as I 
said, was a bold dragoon, and had served in the Low Countries. 
In fact, he was one of that very army, which, according to my 
uncle Toby, "swore so terribly in Flanders." He could swear 
a good stick himself ; and, moreover, was the very man that in- 
troduced the doctrine Corporal Trim mentions, of radical heat 
and radical moisture ; or, in other words, the mode of keeping 
out the damps of ditch water by burnt brandy. Be that as it 
may, it's nothing to the purport of my story. I only tell it to 
show you that my grandfather was a man not easily to be hum- 
bugged. He had seen service ; or, according to his own phrase, 
" he had seen the devil " and that's saying every thing. 

Well, gentlemen, my grandfather was on his way to Eng- 
land, for which he intended to embark at Ostend ; bad luck 
to the place for one where I was kept by storms and head winds 
for three long days, and the divil of a jolly companion or pretty 
face to comfort me. Well, as I was saying, my grandfather 
was on his way to England, or rather to Ostend no matter 
which, it's all the same. So one evening, towards nightfall, he 
;rode jollily into Bruges. Very like you all know Bruges, gen- 
tlemen, a queer, old-fashioned Flemish town, once they say ft 



THE BOLD DRAGOON. 26 

great place for trade and money-making, in old times, when the 
Mynheers were in their glory ; but almost as large and as empty 
as an Irishman's pocket at the present day. Well, gentlemen, 
it was the time of the annual fair. All Bruges was crowded ; 
and the canals swarmed with Dutch boats, and the streets 
swarmed with Dutch merchants ; and there was hardly any get- 
ting along for goods, wares, and merchandises, and peasants in 
big breeches, and women in half a score of petticoats. 

My grandfather rode jollity along in his easy, slashing way, 
for he was a saucy, sunshiny fellow staring about him at the 
motley crowd, and the old houses with gable ends to the street 
and storks' nests on the chimneys ; winking at the yavrouws 
who showed their faces at the windows, and joking the women 
right and left in the street ; all of whom laughed and took it in 
amazing good part ; for though he did not know a word of their 
language, yet he always had a knack of making himself under- 
stood among the women. 

Well, gentlemen, it being the time of the annual fair, all the 
town was crowded ; every inn and tavern full, and my grand- 
father applied in vain from one to the other for admittance. 
At length he rode up to an old rackety inn that looked ready 
to fall to pieces, and which all the rats would have run away 
from, if they could have found room in any other house to put 
their heads. It was just such a queer building as you see in 
Dutch pictures, with a tall roof that reached up into the clouds ; 
and as many garrets, one over the other, as the seven heavens 
of Mahomet. Nothing had saved it from tumbling down but a 
stork's nest on the chimney, which always brings good luck to a 
house in the Low Countries ; and at the very time of my grand- 
father's arrival, there were two of these long-legged birds of 
grace, % standing like ghosts on the chimney top. Faith, but 
they've kept the house on its legs to this very day ; for you may 
see it any time you pass through Bruges, as it stands there 
yet ; only it is turned into a brewery a brewery of strong 
Flemish beer ; at least it was so when I came that way after the 
battle of Waterloo. 

My grandfather eyed the house curiously as he approached. 
It might not altogether have struck his fancy, had he not seen 
in large letters over the door, 

HEER VERKOOPT MAN GOEDEN DRANK. 

My grandfather had learnt enough of the language to know 
that the sign promised good liquor. u This is the house for 
me," said he, stopping short before the door. 



26 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

The sudden appearance of a dashing dragoon was. an event 
in an old inn, frequented only by the peaceful sons of traffic. 
A rich burgher of Antwerp, a stately ample man, in a broad 
Flemish hat, and who was the great man and great patron of 
the establishment, sat smoking a clean long pipe on one side 
of the door ; a fat little distiller of Geneva from Schiedam, sat 
smoking on the other, and the bottle-nosed host stood in the 
door, and the comely hostess, in crimped cap, beside him ; and 
the hostess' daughter, a plump Flanders lass, with long gold 
pendants in her ears, was at a side window. 

"Humph! " said the rich burgher of Antwerp, with a sulky 
glance at the stranger. 

44 Der duyvel ! " said the fat little distiller of Schiedam. 

The landlord saw with the quick glance of a publican that 
the new guest was not at all, at all, to the taste of the old ones ; 
and to tell the truth, he did not himself like my grandfather's 
saucy eye. He shook his head " Not a garret in the house 
but was full." 

u Not a garret ! " echoed the landlady. 

44 Not a garret ! " echoed the daughter. 

The burgher of Antwerp and the little distiller of Schiedam 
continued to smoke their pipes sullenly, eyed the enemy ask- 
ance from under their broad hats, but said nothing. 

My grandfather was not a man to be browbeaten. He threw 
the reins on his horse's neck, cocked his hat on one side, stuck 
one arm akimbo, slapped his broad thigh with the other hand 

44 Faith and troth ! " said he, 44 but I'll sleep in this house this 
very night! " 

My grandfather had on a tight pair of buckskins the slap 
went to the landlady's heart. 

He followed up the vow by jumping off his horse, and niaking 
his way past the staring Mynheers into the public room. May 
be you've been in the bar-room of an old Flemish inn faith, 
but a handsome chamber it was as you'd wish to see ; with a 
brick floor, a great fireplace, with the whole Bible history in 
glazed tiles ; and then the mantel-piece, pitching itself head 
foremost out of the wall, with a whole regiment of cracked tea- 
pots and earthen jugs paraded on it ; not to mention half a dozen 
great Delft platters hung about the room by way of pictures ; 
and the little bar in one corner, and the bouncing bar-maid inside 
of it with a red calico cap and yellow ear-drops. 

My grandfather snapped his fingers over his head, as he cast 
an eye round the room : " Faith, this is the very house I've 
been looking after," said he. 



THE BOLD DRAGOON. 27 

There was some further show of resistance on the part of the 
garrison, but my grandfather was an old soldier, and an Irish- 
man to boot, and not easily repulsed, especially after he had 
got into the fortress. So he blarney 'd the landlord, kissed the 
landlord's wife, tickled the landlord's daughter, chucked the bar- 
maid under the chin ; and it was agreed on all hands that it 
would be a thousand pities, and a burning shame into the bar- 
gain, to turn such a bold dragoon into the streets. So they laid 
their heads together, that is to say, my grandfather and the 
landlady, and it was at length agreed to accommodate him with 
an old chamber that had for some time been shut up. 

" Some say it's haunted ! " whispered the landlord's daughter, 
" but you're a bold dragoon, and I dare say you don't fear 
ghosts." 

" The divil a bit ! " said my grandfather, pinching her plump 
cheek ; " but if I should be troubled by ghosts, I've been to the 
Red Sea in my time, and have a pleasant way of laying them, 
my darling ! " 

And then he whispered something to the girl which made her 
laugh, and give him a good-humored box on the ear. In short, 
there was nobody knew better how to make his way among the 
petticoats than my grandfather. 

In a little while, as was his usual way, he took complete pos- 
session of the house : swaggering all over it ; into the stable 
to look after his horse ; into the kitchen to look after his supper. 
He had something to say or do with every one ; smoked with 
the Dutchmen ; drank with the Germans ; slapped the men on 
the shoulders, tickled the women under the ribs : never since 
the days of Ally Croaker had such a rattling blade been seen. 
The landlord stared at him with astonishment ; the landlord's 
daughter hung her head and giggled whenever he came near ; 
and as he turned his back and swaggered along, his tight jacket 
setting off his broad shoulders and plump buckskins, and his 
long sword trailing by his side, the maids whispered to one an- 
other u What a proper man ! " 

At supper my grandfather took command of the table d'hote 
as though he had been at home ; helped everybody, not forget- 
ting himself; talked with every one, whether he understood 
their language or not ; and made his way into the intimacy of 
the rich burgher of Antwerp, who had never been known to be 
sociable with any one during his life. In fact, he revolution- 
ized the whole establishment, and gave it such a rouse, that 
the very house reeled with it. He outsat every one at table ex- 
cepting the little fat distiller of Schiedam, who had sat soaking 



28 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

for a long time before he broke forth ; but when he did, he was 
a very devil incarnate. He too* a violent affection for my grand- 
father ; so they sat drinking, and smoking, and telling stories, 
and singing Dutch and Irish songs, without understanding a 
word each other said, until the little Hollander was fairly swampt 
with his own gin and water, and carried off to bed, whooping 
and hiccoughing, and trolling the burthen of a Low Dutch love 



song. 



Well, gentlemen, my grandfather was shown to his quarters, 
up a huge staircase composed of loads of hewn timber ; and 
through long rigmarole passages, hung with blackened paintings 
of fruit, and fish, and game, and country frolics, and huge 
kitchens, and portly burgomasters, such as you see about old- 
fashioned Flemish inns, till at length he arrived at his room. 

An old-times chamber it was, sure enough, and crowded with 
all kinds of trumpery. It looked like an infirmary for decayed 
and superannuated furniture ; where every thing diseased and 
disabled was sent to nurse, or to be forgotten. Or rather, it 
might have been taken for a general congress of old legitimate 
movables, where every kind and country had a representative. 
No two chairs were alike : such high backs and low backs, aud 
leather bottoms and worsted bottoms, and straw bottoms, and 
no bottoms ; and cracked marble tables with curiously carved 
legs, holding balls in their claws, as though they were going to 
play at ninepins. 

My grandfather made a bow to the motley assemblage as he 
entered, and having undressed himself, placed his light in the 
fireplace, asking pardon of the tongs, which seemed to be mak- 
ing love to the shovel in the chimney corner, and whispering 
soft nonsense in its ear. 

The rest of the guests were by this time sound asleep ; for 
your Mynheers are huge sleepers. The housemaids, one by 
one, crept up yawning to their attics, and not a female head in 
the inn was laid on a pillow that night without dreaming of the 
Bold Dragoon. 

My grandfather, for his part, got into bed, and drew over 
him one of those great bags of down, under which they smother 
a man in the Low Countries ; and there he lay, melting between 
two feather beds, like an anchovy sandwich between two slices 
of toast and butter. He was a warm-corn plexioned man, aud 
this smothering played the very deuce with him. So, sure 
enough, in a little while it seemed as if a legion of imps were 
twitching at him, and all the blood in bis veins was iu fever 
beat 



TBE BOLD DRAGOOtf. 29 

He lay still, however, until all the house was quiet, excepting 
the snoring of the Mynheers from the different chambers ; who 
answered one another in all kinds of tones and cadences, like 
so many bull-frogs in a swamp. The quieter the house became, 
the more unquiet became my grandfather. He waxed warmer 
and warmer, until at length the bed became too hot to hold him. 

44 May be the maid had warmed it too much? " said the curi- 
ous gentleman, inquiringly. 

44 1 rather think the contrary,'* replied the Irishman. " But 
be that as it may, it grew too hot for my grandfather." 

44 Faith there's no standing this any longer/* says he; so he 
jumped out of bed and went strolling about the house. 

44 What for?** said the inquisitive gentleman.' 

44 Why, to cool himself to be sure,** replied the other, " or 

perhaps to find a more comfortable bed or perhaps but 

no matter what he went for he never mentioned ; and there's 
no use in taking up our time in conjecturing.'* 

Well, my grandfather had been for some time absent from 
his room, and was returning, perfectly cool, when just as he 
reached the door he heard a strange noise within. He paused 
and listened. Jt seemed as if some one was trying to hum a 
tune in defiance of the asthma. He recollected the report of 
the room's being haunted ; but he was no believer in ghosts. 
80 he pushed the door gently ajar, and peeped in. 

Egad, gentlemen, there was a gambol carrying on within 
enough to have astonished St. Anthony. 

By the light of the fire he saw a pale weazen-faced fellow in a 
long flannel gown and a tall white night-cap with a tassel to it, 
who sat by the fire, with a bellows under his arm by way of 
bagpipe, from which he forced the asthmatical music that had 
bothered my grandfather. As he played, too, he kept twitch- 
iug about with a thousand queer contortions ; nodding his 
head and bobbing about his tasselled nightcap. 

My grandfather thought this very odd, and mighty presump- 
tuous, and was about to demand what business he had to play 
his wind instruments in another gentleman's quarters, when a 
new cause of astonishment met his eye. From the opposite 
side of the room a long-backed, bandy-legged chair, covered 
with leather, and studded all over in a coxcombical fashion with 
little brass nails, got suddenly into motion ; thrust out first a 
claw foot, then a crooked arm, and at length, making a leg, 
slided gracefully up to an easy chair, of tarnished brocade, 
with a hole in its bottom, and led it gallantly out in a ghostly 
minuet about the floor. 



80 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

The musician now played fiercer and fiercer r and bobbed his 
head and his nightcap about like mad. By degrees the dancing 
mania seemed to seize upon all the other pieces of furniture. 
The antique, long-bodied chairs paired off in couples and led 
down a country dance ; a three-legged stool danced a hornpipe, 
though horribly puzzled by its supernumerary leg ; while the 
amorous tongs seized the shovel round the waist, and whirled it 
about the room in a German waltz. In short, all the mova- 
bles got in motion, capering about; pirouetting, hands across, 
right and left, like so many devils, all except a great clothes- 
press, which kept courtesying and courtesying, like a dowager, in 
one corner, in exquisite time to the music ; being either too 
corpulent to dance, or perhaps at a loss for a partner. 

My grandfather concluded the latter to be the reason ; so, 
being, like a true Irishman, devoted to the sex, and at all times 
ready for a frolic, he bounced into the room, calling to the 
musician to strike up " Paddy O'Rafferty," capered up to the 
clothes-press and seized upon two handles to lead her out : 
When, whiz! the whole revel was at an end. The chairs, 
tables, tongs, and shovel slunk in an instant as quietly into their 
places as if nothing had happened ; and the musician vanished 
up the chimney, leaving the bellows behind him in his hurry. 
My grandfather found himself seated in the middle of the floor, 
with the clothes-press sprawling before him, and the two 
handles jerked off and in his hands. 

4 'Then after all, this was a mere dream ! " said the inquisi- 
tive gentleman. 

" The divil a bit of a dream!" replied the Irishman: 
" there never was a truer fact in this world. Faith, I should 
have liked to see any man tell my grandfather it was a dream." 

Well, gentlemen, as the clothes-press was a mighty heavy 
body, and my grandfather likewise, particularly in rear, you 
may easily suppose two such heavy bodies coming to the ground 
would make a bit of a noise. Faith, the old mansion shook as 
though it had mistaken it for an earthquake. The whole garri- 
son was alarmed. The landlord, who slept just below, hurried 
up with a candle to inquire the cause, but with all his haste his 
daughter had hurried to the scene of uproar before him. The 
landlord was followed by the landlady, who was followed by the 
bouncing barmaid, who was followed by the simpering cham- 
bermaids all holding together, as well as they could, such gar- 
ments as they had first lain hands on ; but all in a terrible hurry 
to see what the devil was to pay in the chamber of the bold 
dragoon. 



THE BOLD DRAGOON. 31 

My grandfather related the marvellous scene he had wit- 
nessed, and the prostrate clothes-press, and the broken handles, 
bore testimony to the fact. There was no contesting such evi- 
dence ; particularly with a lad of my grandfather's complexion, 
who seemed able to make good every word either with sword or 
shillelah. So the landlord scratched his head and looked silly, 
as he was apt to do when puzzled. The landlady scratched 
no, she did not scratch her head, but she knit her brow, and 
did not seern half pleased with the explanation. But the land- 
lady's daughter corroborated it by recollecting that the last 
person who had dwelt in that chamber was a famous juggler 
who had died of St. Vittis's dance, and no doubt had infected 
all the furniture. 

This set all things to rights, particularly when the chamber- 
maids declared that they had all witnessed strange carryings on 
in that room ; and as they declared this " upon their honors," 
there could not remain a doubt upon the subject. 

* h And did your grandfather go to bed again in that room?" 
said the inquisitive gentleman. 

"That's more than I can tell. Where he passed the rest of 
the night was a secret he never disclosed. In fact, though he 
had seen much service, he was but indifferently acquainted with 
geography, and apt to make blunders in his travels about inns 
at night, that it would have puzzled him sadly to account for in 
the morning." 

" Was he ever apt to walk in his sleep?" said the knowing 
old gentleman. 

" Never that I heard of." 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE MYSTERIOUS PICTURE. 

As one story of the kind produces another, and as all the 
company seemed fully engrossed by the topic, and disposed to 
bring their relatives and ancestors upon the scene, there is no 
knowing how many more ghost adventures we might have 
heard, had not a corpulent old fox-hunter, who had slept 
soundly through the whole, now suddenly awakened, with a 
loud and long-drawn yawn. The sound broke the charm ; the 
ghosts took to flight as though it had been cock-crowing, and 
there was a universal move for bed. 

44 And now for the haunted chamber," said the Irish captain, 
taking his candle. 



82 TALES OF A TRAVELLED. 

44 Ay, who's to be the bero of the night?" said the gentleman 
with the ruined head. 

44 That we shall see in the morning," said the old gentleman 
with the nose : " whoever looks pale and grizzly will have seen 
the ghost." 

44 Well, gentlemen," said the Baronet, " there's many a true 
thing said in jest. In fact, one of you will sleep in a room 
to-night" 

44 What a haunted room? a haunted room? I claim the 
adventure and I and 1 arid I,"' cried a dozen guests, 
talking and laughing at the same time. 

44 No no," said mine host, "there is a secret about one 
of my rooms on which 1 feel disposed to try an experiment. 
So, gentlemen, none of you shall know who has the haunted 
chamber, until circumstances reveal it. I will not even know 
it myself, but will leave it to chance and the allotment of the 
housekeeper. At the same time, if it will be any satisfaction 
to you, 1 will observe, for the honor of my paternal mansion, 
that there's scarcely a chamber iu it but is well worthy of being 
haunted." 

We now separated for the night, and each went to his allotted 
room. Mine was in one wing of the building, and I could not 
but smile at its resemblance in style to those eventful apart- 
ments described in the tales of the supper table. It was 
spacious and gloomy, decorated with lamp-black portraits, a 
bed of ancient damask, with a tester sufficiently lofty to grace 
a couch of state, and a number of massive pieces of old-fash- 
ioned furniture. I drew a great claw-footed arm-chair before 
the wide fireplace ; stirred up the fire ; sat looking into it, and 
musing upon the odd stories I had heard ; until, partly over- 
come by the fatigue of the day's hunting, and party by the 
wine and wassail of mine host, 1 fell asleep in my chair. 

The uneasiness of my position made my slumber troubled, 
and laid me at the mercy of all kinds of wild and fearful 
dreams ; now it was that my perfidious dinner and supper rose 
in rebellion against my peace. I was hag-ridden by a fat sad- 
dle of mutton ; a plum pudding weighed like lead upon my con- 
science ; the merrythought of a capon filled me with horrible 
suggestions ; and a devilled leg of a turkey stalked in ail kinds 
of diabolical shapes through my imagination. In short, I had 
a violent fit of the nightmare. Some strange indefinite evil 
seemed hanging over me that I could not avert ; something ter- 
rible and loathsome oppressed me that I could not shake off. I 
was conscious of being asleep, and strove to rouse myself, but 



ADVENTURE OF THE MYSTERIOUS PICTURE. 83 

every effort redoubled the evil ; until gasping, struggling, 
almost strangling, 1 suddenly sprang bolt upright in my chair, 
and awoke. 

The light on the mantel-piece had burnt low, and the wick 
was divided ; there was a great winding sheet made by the 
dripping wax, on the side towards me. The disordered taper 
emitted a broad flaring flame, and threw a strong light on a 
painting over the fireplace, which I had not hitherto observed. 

It consisted merely of a head, or rather a face, that appeared 
to be staring full upon me, and with an expression that was 
startling. It was without a frame, and at the first glance I 
could hardly persuade myself that it was not a real face, thrust- 
ing itself out of the dark oaken panel. I sat in my chair gazing 
at it, and the more I gazed the more it disquieted me. I had 
never before been affected in the same way by any painting. 
The emotions it caused were strange and indefinite. They were 
something like what I have heard ascribed to the eyes of the 
basilisk ; or like that mysterious influence in reptiles termed fas- 
cination. I passed my hand over my eyes several times, as if 
seeking instinctively to brush away this illusion in vain 
they instantly reverted to the picture, and its chilling, creeping 
influence over my flesh was redoubled. 

I looked around the room on other pictures, either to divert my 
attention, or to see whether the same effect would be produced 
by them. Some of them were grim enough to produce the 
effect, if the mere grimness of the painting produced it no 
such thing. My eye passed over them all with perfect indiffer- 
ence, but the moment it reverted to this visage over the fire- 
place, it was as if an electric shock darted through me. The 
other pictures were dim and faded ; but this one protruded from 
a plain black ground in the strongest relief, and with wonderful 
truth of coloring. The expression was that of agony the 
agony of intense bodily pain ; but a menace scowled upon the 
brow, and a few sprinklings of blood added to its ghastliness. 
Yet it was not all these characteristics it was some horror of 
the mind, some inscrutable antipathy awakened by this picture, 
which harrowed up my feelings. 

I tried to persuade myself that this was chimerical ; that my 
brain was confused by the fumes of mine host's good cheer, 
and, in some measure, by the odd stories about paintings which 
had been told at supper. I determined to shake off these vapors 
of the mind ; rose from my chair, and walked about the room ; 
snapped my fingers ; rallied myself ; laughed aloud. It was a 
forced laugh, and the echo of it in the old chamber jarred upon 



84 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

my ear. I walked to the window ; tried to discern the landscape 
through the glass. It was pitch darkness, and howling storm 
without; and as I heard the wind moan among the trees, I 
caught a reflection of this accursed visage in the pane of glass, 
as though it were staring through the window at me. Even the 
reflection of it was thrilling. 

How was this vile nervous fit, for such I now persuaded my- 
self it was, to be conquered ? I determined to force myself not 
to look at the painting, but to undress quickly and get into bed. 
I began to undress, but in spite of every effort 1 could not keep 
myself from stealing a glance every now and then at the picture ; 
and a glance was now sufficient to distress me. Even when my 
back was turned to it, the idea of this strange face behind me, 
peering over my shoulder, was insufferable. I threw off my 
clothes and hurried into bed ; but still this visage gazed upon 
me. I had a full view of it from my bed, and for some time 
could not take my eyes from it. I had grown nervous to a 
dismal degree. 

I put out the light, and tried to force myself to sleep ; all 
in vain ! The fire gleaming up a little, threw an uncertain light 
about the room, leaving, however, the region of the picture in 
deep shadow. What, thought I, if this be the chamber about 
which mine host spoke as having a mystery reigning over it? 
I had taken his words merely as spoken in jest ; might they have 
a real import ? I looked around. The faintly-lighted apartment 
had all the qualifications requisite for a haunted chamber. It 
began in my infected imagination to assume strange appear- 
ances. The old portraits turned paler and paler, and blacker 
and blacker ; the streaks of light and shadow thrown among the 
quaint old articles of furniture, gave them singular shapes and 
characters. There was a huge dark clothes-press of antique 
form, gorgeous in brass and lustrous with wax, that begau to 
grow oppressive to me. 

Am I then, thought I, indeed, the hero of the haunted room? 
Is there really a spell laid upon me, or is this all some contriv- 
ance of mine host, to raise a laugh at my expense? The idea of 
being hag-ridden by my own fancy all night, and then bantered 
on my haggard looks the next day was intolerable ; but the very 
idea was sufficient to produce the effect, and to render me still 
more nervous. Pish, said I, it can be no such thing. How 
could my worthy host imagine that I, or any man would be so 
worried by a mere picture ? It is my own diseased imagination 
that torments me. I turned in my bed, and shifted from side 
to side, to try to fall asleep ; but all in vain. When one cannot 



ADVENTURE OF THE MYSTERIOUS PICTURE. 35 

get asleep by lying quiet, it is seldom that tossing about will 
effect the purpose. The fire gradually went out and left the 
room in darkness. Still I had the idea of this inexplicable 
countenance gazing and keeping watch upon me through the 
darkness. Nay, what was worse, the very darkness seemed to 
give it additional power, and to multiply its terrors. It was 
like having an unseen enemy hovering about one in the night. 
Instead of having one picture now to worry me, I had a hun- 
dred. I fancied it in every direction. Ami there it is, thought 
I, and there, and there, with its horrible and mysterious 
expression, still gazing and gazing on me. No if I must 
suffer this strange and dismal influence, it were better face a 
single foe, than thus be haunted by a thousand images of it. 
1 Whoever has been in such a state of nervous agitation must 
know that the longer it continues, the more uncontrollable it 
grows ; the very air of the chamber seemed at length infected 
by the baleful presence of this picture. I fancied it hovering 
over me. I almost felt the fearful visage from the wall ap- 
proaching my face, it seemed breathing upon me. This is 
not to be borne, said I, at length, springing out of bed. I can 
stand this no longer. I shall only tumble and toss about here 
all night ; make a very spectre of myself, and become the hero 
of the haunted chamber in good earnest. Whatever be the con- 
sequence, I'll quit this cursed room, and seek a night's rest 
elsewhere. They can but laugh at me at all events, and they'll 
be sure to have the laugh upon me if I pass a sleepless night 
and show them a haggard and woe-begone visage in the morning. 

All this was half muttered to myself, as I hastily slipped on 
my clothes ; which having done, I groped my way out of the 
room, and down-stairs to the drawing-room. Here, after tum- 
bling over two or three pieces of furniture, I made out to reach 
a sofa, and stretching myself upon it determined to bivouac there 
for the night. 

The moment I found myself out of the neighborhood of that 
strange picture, it seemed as if the charm were broken. All its 
influence was at an end. I felt assured that it was confined to 
its own dreary chamber, for I had, with a sort of instinctive 
caution, turned the key when I closed the door. I soon calmed 
down, therefore, into a state of tranquillity ; from that into a 
drowsiness, and finally into a deep sleep ; out of which I did 
not awake, until the housemaid, with her besom and her matin 
song, came to put the room in order. She stared at finding me 
stretched upon the sofa ; but I presume circumstances of the 
kind were not uncommon after hunting dinners, in her master's 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

bachelor establishment ; for she went on with her song and her 
work, and took no further heed of me. 

I had an unconquerable repugnance to return to my cham- 
ber ; so I found my way to the butler's quarters, made my toilet 
in the best way circumstances would permit, and was among 
the first to appear at the breakfast table. Our breakfast was 
a substantial fox-hunter's repast, and the company were gener- 
ally assembled at it. When ample justice had been done to the 
tea, coffee, cold meats, and humming ale, for all these were fur- 
nished in abundance, according to the tastes of the different 
guests, the conversation began to break out, with all the liveli- 
ness and freshness of morning mirth. 

" But who is the hero of the haunted chamber? Who has 
seen the ghost last night? " said the inquisitive gentleman, roll- 
ing his lobster eyes about the table. 

The question set every tongue in motion ; a vast deal of ban- 
tering ; criticising of countenances ; of mutual accusation and 
retort took place. Some had drunk deep, and some were un- 
shaven, so that there were suspicious faces enough in the assem- 
bly. I alone could not enter with ease and vivacity into the 
joke. 1 felt tongue-tied embarrassed. A recollection of what 
I had seen and felt the preceding night still haunted my mind. 
It seemed as if the mysterious picture still held a thrall upon 
me. I thought also that our host's eye was turned on me with 
an air of curiosity. In short, I was conscious that I was the hero 
of the night, and felt as if every one might read it in my looks. 

The jokes, however, passed over, and no suspicion seemed 
to attach to me. I was just congratulating myself on my escape, 
when a servant came in, saying, that the gentleman who had 
slept ou the sofa in the drawing-room, had left his watch under 
one of the pillows. My repeater was in his hand. 

44 What!" said the inquisitive gentleman, "did any gentle- 
man sleep on the sofa ? ' ' 

" Soho ! soho ! a hare a hare!" cried the old gentleman 
with the flexible nose. 

I could not avoid acknowledging the watch, and was rising 
in great confusion, when a boisterous old squire who sat beside 
me, exclaimed, slapping me on the shoulder, " 'Sblood, lad! 
thou'rt the man as has seen the ghost ! " 

The attention of the company was immediately turned to me ; 
if my face had been pale the moment before, it now glowed 
almost to burning. I tried to laugh, but could only make a 
grimace ; and found all the muscles of my face twitching at 
sixes and sevens, and totally out of all control. 



ADVENTURE OF TUE MYSTERIOUS PICTURE. 87 

It takes but little to raise a laugh among a set of fox-hunters. 
There was a world of merriment and joking at my expense ; 
and as 1 never relished a joke overmuch when it was at my own 
expense, I began to feel a little nettled. I tried to look cool 
and calm and to restrain my pique ; but the coolness and calm- 
ness of a man in a passion are confounded treacherous. 

Gentlemen, said I, with a slight cocking of the chin, and a 
bad attempt at a smile, this is all very pleasant ha! ha! 
very pleasant but I'd have you know I am as little supersti- 
tious as any of you ha ! ha ! and as to any thing like timid- 
ity you may smile, gentlemen but I trust there is no one 

here means to insinuate that. As to a room's being haunted, 

I repeat, gentlemen (growing a little warm at seeing a cursed 
grin breaking out round me) as to a room's being haunted, I 
have as little faith in such .silly stories as any one. But, since 
you put the matter home to me, 1 will say that J have met with 
something in my room strange and inexplicable to me (a shout 
of laughter). Gentlemen, I am serious J know well what I 
am saying I am calm, gentlemen, (striking my fist upon the 
table) by heaven I am calm. J am neither trifling, nor do I 
wish to be trifled with (the laughter of the company sup- 
pressed with ludicrous attempts at gravity). There is a picture 
in the room in which I was put last night, that has had an effect 
upon me the most singular and incomprehensible. 

44 A picture ! " said the old gentleman with the haunted head. 
44 A picture! " cried the narrator with the waggish nose. "A 
picture ! a picture ! " echoed several voices. Here there was an 
ungovernable peal of laughter. 

I could not contain myself. I started up from my seat 
looked round on the company with fiery indignation thrust 
both my hands into my pockets, and strode up to one of the 
windows, as though I would have walked through it. I stopped 
short ; looked out upon the landscape without distinguishing 
a feature of it ; and felt my gorge rising almost to suffoca- 
tion. 

Mine host saw it was time to interfere. He had maintained 
an air of gravity through the whole of the scene, and now 
stepped forth as if to shelter me from the overwhelming merri- 
ment of my companions. 

" Gentlemen," said he, "I dislike to spoil sport, but you have 
had your laugh, and the joke of the haunted chamber has been 
enjoyed. 1 must now take the part of my guest. I must not 
only vindicate him from your pleasantries, but I must reconcile 
him to himself, for I suspect he is a little out of humor with his 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

own feelings ; and above all, I must crave his pardon for having 
made him the subject of a kind of experiment. 

44 Yes, gentlemen, there is something strange and peculiar in 
the chaml>er to which our friend was shown last night. There 
is a picture which possesses a singular and mysterious influence; 
and with which there is connected a very curious story. It is 
a picture to which I attach a value from a variety of circum- 
stances ; and though 1 have often been tempted to destroy it 
from the odd and uncomfortable sensations it produces in every 
one that beholds it ; yet I have never been able to prevail upon 
myself to make the sacrifice. It is a picture I never like to look 
upon myself ; and which is held in awe by all my servants. I 
have, therefore, banished it to a room but rarely used ; and 
should have had it covered hist night, had not the nature of our 
conversation, and the whimsical talk about a haunted chamber 
tempted me to let it remain, by way of experiment, whether a 
stranger, totally unacquainted with its story, would be affected 
by it." 

The words of the Baronet had turned every thought into a 
different channel ; all were anxious to hear the story of the 
mysterious picture ; and for myself, so strongly were my feel- 
ings interested, that I forgot to feel piqued at the experiment 
which my host had made upon my nerves, and joined eagerly 
in the general entreaty. 

As the morning was stormy, and precluded all egress, my 
host was glad of any means of entertaining his company ; so 
drawing his armchair beside the fire, he began 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE MYSTERIOUS 

STRANGER. 

MANY years since, when I was a young man, and had just 
left Oxford, I was sent on the grand tour to finish my educa- 
tion. I believe my parents had tried in vain to inoculate me 
with wisdom ; so they sent me to mingle with society, in hopes 
I might take it the natural way. Such, at least, appears to 
be the reason for which nine- tenths of our youngsters are sent 
abroad. 

In the course of my tour I remained some time at Venice. 
The romantic character of the place delighted me ; I was very 
much amused by the air of adventure and intrigue that pre- 



ADVENTURE OF THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER. 89 

vailed in this region of masks and gondolas ; and I was exceed- 
ingly smitten by a pair of languishing black eyes, that played 
upon my heart from under an Italian mantle. So 1 persuaded 
myself that I was lingering at Venice to study men and man- 
ners. At least I persuaded my friends so, and that answered 
all my purpose. Indeed, I was a little prone to be struck by 
peculiarities in character and conduct, and my imagination was 
so full of romantic associations with Italy, that I was always 
on the lookout for adventure. 

Every thing chimed in with such a humor in this old mer- 
maid of a city. My suite of apartments were in a proud, mel- 
ancholy palace on the grand canal, formerly the residence of a 
Magniiico, and sumptuous with the traces of decayed grandeur. 
My gondolier was one of the shrewdest of his class, active, 
merry, intelligent, and, like his brethren, secret as the grave; 
that is to say, secret to all the world except his master. I had 
not had him a week before he put me behind all the curtains in 
Venice. I liked the silence and mystery of the place, and when 
I sometimes saw from my window a black gondola gliding 
mysteriously along in the dusk of the evening, with nothing 
visible but its little glimmering lantern, I would jump into my 
own zenduletto, and give a signal for pursuit. But 1 am run- 
ning away from my subject with the recollection of youthful 
follies, said the Baronet, checking himself; "let me come to 
the point." 

Among my familiar resorts was a Cassino under the Arcades 
on one side of the grand square of St. Mark. Here I used 
frequently to lounge and take my ice on those warm summer 
nights when in Italy everybody lives abroad until morning. I 
was seated here one evening, wheji a group of Italians took seat 
at a table on the opposite side of the saloon. Their conversa- 
tion was gay and animated, and carried on with Italian vivacity 
and gesticulation. 

I remarked among them one young man, however, who ap- 
peared to take no share, and find no enjoyment in the conversa- 
tion ; though he seemed to force himself to attend to it. He 
was tall and slender, and of extremely prepossessing appear- 
ance. His features were fine, though emaciated. He had a 
profusion of black glossy hair that curled lightly about his 
head, and contrasted with the extreme paleness of his counte- 
nance. His brow was haggard ; deep furrows seemed to have 
been ploughed into his visage by care, not by age, for he was 
evidently in the prime of youth. His eye was full of expres- 
sion and fire, but wild and unsteady. He seemed to be tor- 



40 TALKS OF A TRAVELLER. 

roeuted by some strange fancy or apprehension. In spite of 
every effort to fix his attention on the conversation of his com- 
panions, I noticed that every now and then he would turn his 
head slowly round, give a glance over his shoulder, and then 
withdraw it with a sudden jerk, as if something painful had 
met his eye. This was repeated at intervals of about a minute, 
and he appeared hardly to have got over one shock, before I 
saw him slowly preparing to encounter another. 

After sitting some time in the Cassino, the party paid for the 
refreshments they had taken, and departed. The young man 
was the last to leave the saloon, and I remarked him glancing 
behind him in the same way, just as he passed out at the door. 
I could not resist the impulse to rise and follow him ; for I was 
at an age when a romantic feeling of curiosity is easily awak- 
ened. The party walked slowly down the Arcades, talking and 
laughing as they went. They crossed the Piazzetta, but paused 
in the middle of it to enjoy the scene. It was one of those 
moonlight nights so brilliant and clear in the pure atmosphere 
of Italy. The moonbeams streamed on the tall tower of St. 
Mark, and lighted up the magnificent front and swelling domes 
of the Cathedral. The party expressed their delight in ani- 
mated terms. I kept my eye upon the young man. He alone 
seemed abstracted and self-occupied. I noticed the same sin- 
gular, and, as it were, furtive glance over the shoulder that had 
attracted my attention in the Cassiuo. The party moved on, 
and I followed ; they passed along the walks called the Broglio ; 
turned the corner of the Ducal palace, and getting into a gon- 
dola, glided swiftly away. 

The countenance and conduct of this young man dwelt upon 
my mind. There was something iu his appearance that inter- 
ested me exceedingly. I met him a day or two after in a gallery 
of paintings. He was evidently a connoisseur, for he always 
singled out the most masterly productions, and the few remarks 
drawn from him by his companions showed an intimate ac- 
quaintance with the art. His own taste, however, ran on sin- 
gular extremes. On Salvator Rosa in his most savage and 
solitary scenes ; on Raphael, Titian, and Correggio in their soft- 
est delineations of female beauty. On these he would occasion- 
ally gaze with transient enthusiasm. But this seemed only a 
momentary forgetfulness. Still would recur that cautious glance 
behind, and always quickly withdrawn, as though something 
terrible had met his view. 

I encountered him frequently afterwards. At the theatre, at 
balls, at concerts ; at the promenades in the gardens of San 



ADVENTURE OF THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER. 41 

Georgio ; at the grotesque exhibitions in the square of St. 
Mark ; among the throng of merchants on the Exchange by the 
Rialto. He seemed, in fact, to seek crowds ; to hunt after 
bustle and amusement ; yet never to take any interest in either 
the business or gayety of the scene. Ever an air of painful 
thought, of wretched abstraction ; and ever that strange and 
recurring movement, of glancing fearfully over the shoulder. I 
did not know at first but this might be caused by apprehension 
of arrest ; or perhaps from dread of assassination. But, if so, 
why should he go thus continually abroad ; why expose himself 
at all times and in all places? 

I became anxious to know this stranger. I was drawn to 
him by that romantic sympathy that sometimes draws young 
men towards each other. His melancholy threw a charm about 
him in my eyes, which was no doubt heightened by the touching 
expression of his countenance, and the manly graces of his 
person ; for manly beauty has its effect even upon man. I had 
an Englishman's habitual diffidence and awkwardness of ad- 
dress to contend with ; but 1 subdued it, and from frequently 
meeting him in the Cassino, gradually edged myself into his 
acquaintance. I had no reserve on his part to contend with. 
He seemed on the contrary to court society ; and in fact to seek 
any thing rather than be alone. 

When he found 1 really took an interest in him he threw him- 
self entirely upon rny friendship. He clung to me like a drown- 
ing man. He would walk with me for hours up and down the 
place of St. Mark or he would sit until night was far advanced 
in my apartment ; he took rooms under the same roof with me ; 
and his constant request was, that I would permit him, when it 
did not incommode me, to sit by me in my saloon. Jt was not 
that he seemed to take a particular delight in my conversation ; 
but rather that he craved the vicinity of a human being; and 
above all, of a being that sympathized with him. fct 1 have often 
heard, " said he, "of the sincerity of Englishmen thank God 
I have one at length for a friend ! " 

Yet he never seemed disposed to avail himself of my sympa- 
thy other than by mere companionship. He never sought to 
uul>osom himself to me ; there appeared to be a settled corrod- 
ing anguish in his lx>som that neither could be soothed " by 
silence nor by speaking.*' A devouring melancholy preyed 
upon his heart, and seemed to be drying up the very blood in 
his veins. It was not a soft melancholy the disease of the 
affections ; but a parching, withering agony. I could see at 
times that his mouth was dry and feverish ; he almost panted 



42 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

rather than breathed ; his eyes were bloodshot ; his cheeks pale 
and livid ; with now and then faint streaks athwart them bale- 
ful gleams of the fire that was consuming his heart. As my 
arm was within his, I felt him press it at times witli a convul- 
sive motion to his side ; his hands would clinch themselves in- 
voluntarily, and a kind of shudder would run through his frame. 
I reasoned with him al>out his melancholy, and sought to draw 
from him the cause he shrunk from all confiding. " Do not 
seek to know it," said he, " you could not relieve it if you knew 
it ; you would not even seek to relieve it on the contrary, I 
should lose your sympathy; and that," said he, pressing my 
hand convulsively, " that I feel has become too dear to me to 
risk." 

I endeavored to awaken hope within him. He was young ; 
life had a thousand pleasures in store for him ; there is a healthy 
re-action in the youthful heart ; it medicines its own wounds 
44 Come, come,'* said I, 44 there is no grief so great that youth 
cannot outgrow it." u No ! no ! " said he, clinching his teeth, 
and striking repeatedly, with the energy of despair, upon his 
l)O8om " It is here here deep-rooted ; draining my heart's 
blood. It grows and grows, while my heart withers and with- 
ers ! I have a dreadful monitor that gives me no repose that 
follows me step by step ; and will follow me step by step, until 
it pushes me into my grave ! " 

As he said this he gave involuntarily one of those fearful 
glances over his shoulder, and shrunk back with more than 
usual horror. I could not resist the temptation to allude to this 
movement, which I supposed to be some mere "malady of the 
nerves. The moment I mentioned it his face became crimsoned 
and convulsed he grasped me by both hands: "For God's 
sake," exclaimed he, with a piercing agony of voice u never 
allude to that again ; let us avoid this subject, my friend : you 
cannot relieve me, indeed you cannot relieve me ; but you may 
add to the torments I suffer : at some future day you shall 
know all." 

I never resumed the subject ; for however much my curiosity 
might be aroused, I felt too true a compassion for his sufferings 
to increase them by my intrusion. I sought various ways to 
divert his mind, and to arouse him from the constant medita- 
tions in which he was plunged. He saw my efforts, and sec- 
onded them as far as in his power, for there was nothing moody 
or wayward in his nature ; on the contrary, there was some- 
thing frank, generous, unassuming, in his whole deportment. 
All the sentiments that he uttered were noble and lofty. He 



ADVENTURE OF THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER. 43 

claimed no indulgence ; he asked no toleration. He seemed 
content to carry his load of misery in silence, and only sought 
to carry it by my side. There was a mute beseeching manner 
about him, as if he craved companionship as a charitable boon ; 
and a tacit thankfulness in his looks, as if he felt grateful to me 
for not repulsing him. 

I felt this melancholy to be infectious. It stole over my 
spirits ; interfered with all my gay pursuits, and gradually sad- 
dened my life ; yet I could not prevail upon myself to shake off 
a being who seemed to hang upon me for support. In truth, the 
generous traits of character that beamed through all this gloom 
had penetrated to my heart. His bounty was lavish and open- 
handed. His charity melting and spontaneous. Not contined 
to mere donations, which often humiliate as much as they relieve. 
The tone of his voice, the beam of his eye, enhanced every gift, 
and surprised the poor suppliant with that rarest and sweetest 
of charities, the charity not meixTy of the hand, but of the heart. 
Indeed, his liberality seemed to have something in it of self- 
abasement and expiation. He humbled himself, in a manner, 
before the mendicant. " What right have I to ease and afflu- 
ence," would he murmur to himself, "when innocence wanders 
in misery and rags?" 

The Carnival time arrived. I had hoped that the gay scenes 
which then presented themselves .might have some cheering 
effect. J mingled with him in the motley throng that crowded 
the place of St. Mark. We frequented operas, masquerades, 
balls. All in vain. The evil kept growing on him ; he became 
more and more haggard and agitated. Often, after we had re- 
turned from one of these scenes of revelry, I have entered his 
room, and found him lying on his face on the sofa ; his hands 
clinched in his fine hair, and his whole countenance bearing 
traces of the convulsions of his mind. 

The Carnival passed away ; the season of Lent succeeded ; 
Passion week arrived. We attended one evening a solemn ser- 
vice in one of the churches ; in the course of which a grand 
piece of vocal and instrumental music was performed relating 
to the death of our Saviour. 

I had remarked that he was always powerfully affected by 
music ; on this occasion he was so in an extraordinary degree. 
As the pealing notes swelled through the lofty aisles, he seemed 
to kindle up with fervor. His eyes rolled upwards, until noth- 
ing but the whites were visible ; his hands were clasped to- 
gether, until the fingers were deeply imprinted in the flesh. 
When the music expressed the dying agony, his face gradually 



44 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

sunk upon his knees ; and at the touching words resounding 
through the church, " Jesu mori," sobs burst from him uncon- 
trolled. I had never seen him weep before ; his had always 
been agony rather than sorrow. I augured well from the cir- 
cumstance. I let him weep on uninterrupted. When the ser- 
vice was ended we left the church. He hung on my arm as we 
walked homewards, with something of a softer and more sub- 
dued manner ; instead of that nervous agitation I had been ac- 
customed to witness. He alluded to the service we had heard. 
"Music," said he, " is indeed the voice of heaven ; never before 
have I felt more impressed by the story of the atonement of 
our Saviour. Yes, my friend," said he, clasping his hands 
with a kind of transport, tfc I know that my Redeemer liveth." 

We parted for the night. His room was not far from mine, 
and I heard him for some time busied in it. I fell asleep, but 
was awakened before daylight. The young man stood by my 
bedside, dressed for travelling? He held a sealed packet and 
a large parcel in his hand, which he laid on the table. " Fare- 
well, my friend," said he, "I am about to set forth on a long 
journey ; but, before I go, I leave with you these remembrances. 
Ju this packet you will find the particulars of my story. When 
you read them, I shall be far away; do not remember me with 
aversion. You have been, indeed, a friend to me. You have 
poured oil into a broken heart, but you could not heal it. 
Farewell let me kiss your liand 1 am unworthy to embrace 
you." He sunk on his knees, seized my hand in despite of my 
efforts to the contrary, and covered it with kisses. I was so 
surprised by all this scene that I had not been able to say a 
word. 

But we shall meet again, said I, hastily, as I saw him hurry- 
ing towards the door. 

"Never never in this world!" said he, solemnly. He 
sprang once more to my bedside seized my hand, pressed it 
to his heart and to his lips, and rushed out of the room. 

Here the Baronet paused. He seemed lost in thought, and 
sat looking upon the floor and drumming with his fingers on the 
arm of his chair. 

"And did this mysterious personage return?" said the in- 
quisitive gentleman. "Never!" replied the Baronet, with a 
pensive shake of the head : " I never saw him again." " And 
pray what has all this to do with the picture? " inquired the old 
gentleman with the nose. "True!" said the questioner 
"Is it the portrait of this crack-brained Italian?" "No! " 
said the Baronet, dryly, not half liking the appellation given to 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 45 

his hero; " but this picture was enclosed in the parcel he left 
with rne. The sealed packet contained its explanation. There 
was a request on the outside that 1 would not open it until six 
months had elapsed, i kept my promise, in spite of my curi- 
osity. I have a translation of it by me, and had meant to read 
it, by way of accounting for the mystery of the chamber, but I 
fear I have already detained the company too long." 

Here there was a general wish expressed to have the manu- 
script read ; particularly on the part of the inquisitive gentle- 
man. So the worthy Baronet drew out a fairly written manu- 
script, and wiping his spectacles, read aloud the following 
story : 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 

I WAS born at Naples. My parents, though of noble rank, 
were limited in fortune, or rather my father was ostentatious 
beyond his means, and expended so much in his palace, his 
equipage, and his retinue, that he was continually straitened in 
his pecuniary circumstances. I was a younger son, and looked 
upon with indifference by my father, who, from a principle of 
family pride, wished to leave all his property to my elder brother. 

I showed, when quite a child, an extreme sensibility. Every 
thing affected rne violently. While yet an infant in my mother's 
arms, and before I had learnt to talk, I could be wrought upon to 
a wonderful degree of anguish or delight by the power of music. 
As I grew older my feelings remained equally aeute, and I was 
easily transported into paroxysms of pleasure or rage. It was 
the amusement of my relatives and of the domestics to play 
upon this irritable temperament. I was moved to tears, tickled 
to laughter, provoked to fury, for the entertainment of com- 
pany, who were amused by such a tempest of mighty passion 
in a pygmy frame. They little thought, or perhaps little heeded, 
the dangerous sensibilities they were fostering. J thus became 
a little creature of passion, before reason was developed. In a 
short time 1 grew too old to be a plaything, and then I became 
a torment. The tricks and passions I had been teased into be- 
came irksome, and I was disliked by my teachers for the very 
lessons they had taught me. 

My mother died ; and my power as a spoiled child was at an 
end. There was no longer any necessity to humor or tolerate 
me, for there was nothing to be gained by it, as I was no favor- 



46 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

ite of my father. I therefore experienced the fate of a spoiled 
child in such situation, and was neglected or noticed only to be 
crossed and contradicted. Such was the early treatment of a 
heart, which, if I am judge of it at all, was naturally disposed 
to the extremes of tenderness and affection. 

My father, as I have already said, never liked me in fact, 
he never understood me ; he looked upon me as wilful and way- 
ward, as deficient in natural affection : it was the stateliness 
of his own manner ; the loftiness and grandeur of his own look 
that had repelled me from his arms. I always pictured him to 
myself as I had seen him clad in his senatorial robes, rustling 
with pomp and pride. The magnificence of his person had 
daunted my strong imagination. J could never approach him 
with the confiding affection of a child. 

My father's feelings were wrapped up in my elder brother. 
He was to be the inheritor of the family title and the family 
dignity, and every thing was sacrificed to him I, as well as 
every thing else. It was determined to devote me to the church, 
that so my humors and myself might be removed out of the way, 
either of tasking my father's time and trouble, or interfering 
with the interests of my brother. At an early age, therefore, 
before my mind had dawned upon the world and its delights, 
or known any thing of it beyond the precincts of my father's 
palace, 1 was sent to a convent, the superior of which was my 
uncle, and was confided entirely to his care. 

My uncle was a man totally estranged from the world ; he 
had never relished, for he had never tasted its pleasures ; and< 
he deemed rigid self-denial as the great basis of Christian virtue. 
He considered every one's temperament like his own ; or at 
least he made them conform to it. His character and habits 
had an influence over the fraternity of which he was superior. 
A more gloomy, saturnine set of beings were never assembled 
together. The convent, too, was calculated to awaken sad and 
solitary thoughts. It was situated in a gloomy gorge of those 
mountains away south of Vesuvius. All distant views were 
shut out by sterile volcanic heights. A mountain stream raved 
beneath its walls, and eagles screamed about its turrets. 

I had been sent to this place at so tender an age as soon to 
lose all distinct recollection of the scenes I had left behind. As 
my mind expanded, therefore, it formed its idea of the world 
from the convent and its vicinity, and a dreary world it appeared 
to me. An early tinge of melancholy was thus infused into my 
character ; and the dismal stories of the monks, about devils 
and evil spirits, with which they affrighted my young imagina- 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 47 

tion, gave me a tendency to superstition, which I could never 
effectually shake off. They took the same delight to work upon 
my ardent feelings that had been so mischievously exercised 
by my father's household. 

I can recollect the horrors with which they fed my heated 
fancy during an eruption of Vesuvius. We were distant from 
that volcano, with mountains between us ; but its convulsive 
throes shook the solid foundations of nature. Earthquakes 
threatened to topple down our convent towers. A lurid, bale- 
ful light hung in the heavens at night, and showers of ashes, 
borne by the wind, fell in our narrow valley. The monks talked 
of the earth being honey-combed beneath us ; of streams of 
molten lava raging through its veins ; of caverns of sulphur- 
ous flames roaring in the centre, the abodes of demons and the 
damned ; of fiery gulfs ready to yawn beneath our feet. All 
these tales were told to the doleful accompaniment of the moun- 
tain's thunders, whose low bellowing made the walls of our con- 
vent vibrate. 

One of the monks had been a painter, but had retired from 
the world, and embraced this dismal life, in expiation of some 
crime. He was a melancholy man, who pursued his art in the 
solitude of his cell, but made it a source of penance to him. 
His employment was to portray, either on canvas or in waxen 
models, the human face and human form, in the agonies of 
death and in all the stages of dissolution and decay. The fear- 
ful mysteries of the eharnel house were unfolded in his labors 

the loathsome banquet of the beetle and the worm. 1 turn 

with shuddering even from the recollection of his works. Yet, 
at that time, my strong, but ill-directed imagination seized with 
ardor upon his instructions in his art. Any thing was a variety 
from the dry studies and monotonous duties of the cloister. In 
a little while I became expert with my pencil, and rny gloomy 
productions were thought worthy of decorating some of the altars 
of the chapel. 

In this dismal way was a creature of feeling and fancy brought 
up. Every thing genial and amiable in my nature was repressed 
and nothing brought out but what was unprofitable and ungra- 
cious. I was ardent in my temperament ; quick, mercurial, im- 
petuous, formed to be a creature all love and adoration ; but a 
leaden hand was laid on all my finer qualities. I was taught 
nothing but fear and hatred. I hated my uncle, I hated the 
monks, I hated the convent in which I was immured. I hated 
the world, and I almost hated myself, for being, as I supposed, 
so hating and hateful an animal. 



48 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

When I had nearly attained the age of sixteen, I was suffered, 
on one occasion, to accompany one of the brethren on a mission 
to a distant part of the country. We soon left behind us the 
gloomy valley in which I had been pent up for so many years, 
and after a short journey among the mountains, emerged upon 
the voluptuous landscape that spreads itself about the Bay of 
Naples. Heavens ! how transported was I, when I stretched 
my gaze over a vast reach of delicious sunny country, gay with 
groves and vineyards ; with Vesuvius rearing its forked summit 
to my right ; the blue Mediterranean to my left, with its en- 
chanting coast, studded with sinning towns and sumptuous villas ; 
and Naples, my native Naples, gleaming far, far in the distance. 

Good God ! was this the lovely world from which I had been 
excluded ! I had reached that age when the sensibilities are in 
all their bloom and freshness. Mine had been checked and 
chilled. They now burst forth with the suddenness of a re- 
tarded spring. My heart, hitherto unnaturally shrunk up, ex- 
panded into a riot of vague, but delicious emotions. The beauty 
of nature intoxicated, bewildered me. The song of the peas- 
ants ; their cheerful looks ; their happy avocations ; the pic- 
turesque gayety of their dresses ; their rustic music ; their 
dances ; all broke upon me like witchcraft. My soul responded 
to the music ; my heart danced in my bosom. All the men ap- 
peared amiable, all the women lovely. 

I returned to the convent, that is to say, my body returned, 
but rny heart and soul never entered there again. I could not 
forget this glimpse of a beautiful and a happy world ; a world 
so suited to my natural character. 1 had felt so happy while in 
it ; so different a being from what I felt myself while in the 
convent that tomb of the living. I contrasted the counte- 
nances of the beings 1 had seen, full of fire and freshness and 
enjoyment, with the pallid, leaden, lack-lustre visages of the 
monks ; the music of the dance, with the droning chant of the 
chapel. I had before found the exercises of the cloister weari- 
some : they now became intolerable. The dull round of duties 
wore away my spirit ; my nerves became irritated by the fretful 
tinkling of the convent bell ; evermore dinging among the moun- 
tain echoes ; evermore calling me from my repose at night, my 
pencil by day, to attend to some tedious and mechanical cere- 
mony of devotion. 

I was not of a nature to meditate long, without putting my 
thoughts into action. My spirit had been suddenly aroused, 
and was now all awake within me. I watched my opportunity, 
fled from the convent, and made my way on foot to Naples. 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 49 

As I entered its gay and crowded streets, and beheld the variety 
and stir of life around me, the luxury of palaces, the splendor 
of equipages, and the pantomimic animation of the motley popu- 
lace, I seemed as if awakened to a world of enchantment, and 
solemnly vowed that nothing should force me back to the monot- 
ony of the cloister. 

I had to inquire my way to my father's palace, for I had been 
so young on leaving it, that I knew not its situation. I found 
some difficulty in getting admitted to my father's presence, for 
the domestics scurcely knew that there was such a being as my- 
self in existence, and my monastic dress did not operate in my 
favor. Even my father entertained no recollection of my per- 
son. I told iffin my name, threw myself at his feet, implored 
his forgiveness, and entreated that J might not be sent back 
to the convent. 

He received me with the condescension of a patron rather 
than the kindness of a parent. He listened patiently, but 
coldly, to my tale of monastic grievances and disgusts, and 
promised to think what else could be done for me. This cold- 
ness blighted and drove back all the frank affection of my 
nature that was ready to spring forth at the least warmth of 
parental kindness. All my early feelings towards my father 
revived ; I again looked up to him as the stately magnificent 
being that had daunted my childish imagination, and felt as if 
I had no pretensions to his sympathies. My brother engrossed 
all his care and love ; he inherited his nature, and carried him- 
self towards me with a protecting rather than a fraternal air. 
It wounded my pride, which was great. I could brook conde- 
scension from my father, for I looked up to him with awe as a 
superior being, but 1 could not brook patronage from a brother, 
who, I felt, was intellectually my inferior. The servants per- 
ceived that I was an unwelcome intruder in the paternal man- 
sion, and, menial-like, they treated me with neglect. Thus 
baffled at every point ; my affections outraged wherever they 
would attach themselves, 1 became sullen, silent, and despond- 
ent. My feelings, driven back upon myself, entered and preyed 
upon my own heart. I remained for some days an unwelcome 
guest rather than a restored son in my father's house. I was 
doomed never to be properly known there. I was made, by 
wrong treatment, strange even to myself ; and they judged of 
me from my strangeness. 

I was startled one day at the sight of one of the monks of ray 
convent, gliding out of my father's room. He saw me, but 
pretended not to notice me ; and this very hypocrisy made me 



50 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

suspect something. I had become sore and susceptible in my 
feelings ; every thing inflicted a wound on them. In this state 
of v mind I was treated with marked disrespect by a pampered 
minion, the favorite servant of my father. All the pride and 
passion of my nature rose in an instant, and I struck him to 
the earth. 

My father was passing by ; he stopped not to inquire the 
Reason, nor indeed could he read the long course of mental suf- 
ferings which were the real cause. He rebuked me with anger 
and scorn ; he summoned all the haughtiness of his nature, and 
grandeur of his look, to give weight to the contumely with 
which he treated me. I felt I had not deserved it I felt that 
I was not appreciated I felt that I had that within me which 
merited better treatment ; my heart swelled against a father's 
injustice. I broke through my habitual awe of him. I replied 
to him with impatience ; my hot spirit flushed in my cheek and 
kindled in my eye, but my sensitive heart swelled as quickly, 
and before I had half vented my passion I felt it suffocated and 
quenched in my tears. My father was astonished and inceused 
at this turning of the worm, and ordered me to my chamber. 
I retired in silence, choking with contending emotions. 

I had not been long there when I overheard voices in an 
adjoining apartment. It was a consultation between my father 
and the monk, about the means of getting me back quietly to 
the convent. My resolution was taken. I had no longer a 
home nor a father. That very night I left the paternal roof. 
I got on board a vessel about making sail from the harbor, and 
abandoned myself to the wide world. No matter to what port 
she steered ; any part of so beautiful a world was better than 
my convent. No matter where I was cast by fortune ; any 
place would be more a home to me than the home I had left 
behind. The vessel was bound to Genoa. We arrived there 
after a voyage of a few days. 

As I entered the harbor, between the moles which embrace 
it, and beheld the amphitheatre of palaces and churches and 
splendid gardens, rising one above another, I felt at once its 
title to the appellation of Genoa the Superb. I landed on the 
mole an utter stranger, without knowing what to do, or whither 
to direct my steps. No matter ; I was released from the thral- 
dom of the convent and the humiliations of home ! When I 
traversed the Strada Balbi and the Strada Nuova, those streets 
of palaces, and gazed at the wonders of architecture around 
me ; when I wandered at close of day, amid a gay throng of 
the brilliant and the beautiful, through the green alleys of the 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 51 

Aqua Verdi, or among the colonnades and terraces of the mag- 
nificent Doria Gardens, 1 thought it impossible to be ever other- 
wise than happy in Genoa. 

A few clays sufficed to show me my mistake. My scanty 
purse was exhausted, and for the first time in my life I experi- 
enced the sordid distress of penury. I had never known the 
want of money, and had never adverted to the possibility of 
such an evil. I was ignorant of the world and all its ways ; 
and when first the idea of destitution came over my mind its 
effect was withering. I was wandering pensively through the 
streets which no longer delighted my eyes, when chance led my 
steps into the magnificent church of the Annunciate. 

A celebrated painter of the day was at that moment superin- 
tending the placing of one of his pictures over an altar. The 
proficiency which 1 had acquired in his art during my residence 
in the convent had made me an enthusiastic amateur. I was 
struck, at the first glance, with the painting. It was the face of 
a Madonna. So innocent, so lovely, such a divine expression 
of maternal tenderness ! 1 lost for the moment all recollection 
of myself in the enthusiasm of my art. I clasped my hands 
together, and uttered an ejaculation of delight. The painter 
perceived my emotion. He was flattered and gratified by it. 
My air and mariner pleased him, and he accosted me. 1 felt 
too much the want of friendship to repel the advances of a 
stranger, and there was something in this one so benevolent 
and winning that in a moment he gained my confidence. 

I told him my story and my situation, concealing only my 
name and rank. He appeared strongly interested by my re- 
cital ; invited me to his house, and from that time I became his 
favorite pupil. He thought he perceived in me extraordinary 
talents for the art, and his encomiums awakened all my ardor. 
What a blissful period of my existence was it that I passed 
beneath his roof. Another being seemed created within me, or 
rather, all that was amiable and excellent was drawn out. I was 
as recluse as ever I had been at the convent, but how different 
was my seclusion. My time was spent in storing my mind with 
lofty and poetical ideas ; in meditating on all that was striking 
and noble in history or fiction ; in studying and tracing all that 
was sublime and beautiful in nature. I was aiwaj 7 s a visionary, 
imaginative being, but now my reveries and imaginings all ele- 
vated me to rapture. 

I looked up to my master as to a benevolent genius that had 
opened to me a region of enchantment. I became devotedly 
attached to him. He was not a native of Genoa, but had been 



52 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

drawn thither by the solicitation of several of the nobility, and 
had resided there but a few years, for the completion of certain 
works he had undertaken. His health was delicate, and he had 
to confide much of the filling up of his designs to the pencils of 
his scholars. He considered me as particularly happy in delin- 
eating the human countenance ; in seizing upon characteristic, 
though fleeting expressions and fixing them powerfully upon my 
canvas. I was employed continually, therefore, in sketching 
faces, and often when some particular grace or beauty or ex- 
pression was wanted in a countenance, it was intrusted to my 
pencil. My benefactor was fond of bringing me forward ; and 
partly, perhaps, through my actual skill, arid partly by his par- 
tial praises, I began to be noted for the expression of my coun- 
tenances. 

Among the various works which he had undertaken, was an 
historical piece for one of the palaces of Genoa, in which were 
to be- introduced the likenesses of several of the family. Among 
these was one intrusted to my pencil. It was that of a young 
girl, who as yet was in a convent for her education. She came 
out for the purpose of sitting for the picture. J first saw her in 
an apartment of one of the sumptuous palaces of Genoa. She 
stood before a casement that looked out upon the bay, a stream 
of vernal sunshine fell upon her, and shed a kind of glory 
round her as it lit up the rich crimson chamber. She was but 
sixteen years of age and oh, how lovely ! The scene broke 
upon me like a mere vision of spring and youth and beauty. I 
could have fallen down and worshipped her. She was like one 
of those fictions of poets and painters, when they would express 
the bean ideal that haunts their minds with shapes of indescrib- 
able perfection. 

I was permitted to sketch her countenance in various posi- 
tions, and I fondly protracted the study that was undoing me. 
The more I gazed on her the more I became enamoured ; there 
was something almost painful in my intense admiration. I was 
but nineteen years of age ; shy, diffident, and inexperienced. 
I was treated with attention and encouragement, for my youth 
and my enthusiasm in my art had won favor for me ; and I am 
inclined to think that there was something in my air and manner 
that inspired interest and respect. Still the kindness with 
which I was treated could not dispel the embarrassment into 
which my own imagination threw me when in presence of this 
lovely being. It elevated her into something almost more than 
mortal. She seemed too exquisite for earthly use ; too delicate 
and exalted for human attainment. As I sat tracing her charms 



THE STOUT OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 58 

on my canvas, with my eyes occasionally riveted on her fea- 
tures, I drank in delicious poison that made me giddy. My 
heart alternately gushed with tenderness, and ached with de- 
spair. Now I became more than ever sensible of the violent 
fires that had lain dormant at the bottom of my soul. You who 
are born in a more temperate climate and under a cooler sky, 
have little idea of the violence of passion in our Southern 
bosoms. 

A few days finished my task ; Bianca returned to her con- 
vent, but her image remained indelibly impressed upon my 
heart. It dwelt on my imagination ; it became my pervading 
idea of beauty. It had an effect even upon my pencil ; I be- 
came noted for my felicity in depicting female loveliness ; it 
was but because I multiplied the image of Bianca. I soothed, 
and yet fed my fancy, by introducing her in all the productions 
of my master. I have stood with delight, in one of the chapels 
of the Annunciata, and heard the crowd extol the sei'Aphic 
beauty of a saint which I had painted ; I have seen them bow 
down in adoration before the painting : they were bowing be- 
fore the loveliness of Bianca. 

I existed in this kind of dream, I might almost say delirium, 
for upwards of a year. Such is the tenacity of my imagina- 
tion that the image which was formed in it continued in all its 
power and freshness. Indeed, I was a solitary, meditative 
being, much given to revery, and apt to foster ideas which had 
once taken strong possession of me. I was roused from this 
fond, melancholy, delicious dream by the death of my worthy 
benefactor. I cannot describe the pangs his death occasioned 
me. It left me alone and almost broken-hearted. He be- 
queathed to me his little property ; which, from the liberality of 
his disposition and his expensive style of living, was indeed but 
small : and he most particularly recommended me, in dying, 
to the protection of a nobleman who had been his patron. 

The latter was a man who passed for munificent. He was a 
lover and an encourager of the arts, and evidently wished to 
be thought so. He fancied he saw in me indications of future 
excellence ; my pencil had already attracted attention ; IIQ took 
me at once under his protection ; seeing that I was overwhelmed 
with grief, and incapable of exerting myself in the mansion of 
my late benefactor, he invited me to sojourn for a time in a 
villa which he possessed on the border of the sea, in the pic- 
turesque neighborhood of Sestri de Ponenti. 

I found at the villa the Count's only son, Filippo : he was 
nearly of my age, prepossessing in his appearance, and fascinat- 



54 TALES Of A TRAVELLER. 

ing in his manners ; he attached himself to me, and seemed to 
court my good opinion. I thought there was something of pro- 
fession in his kindness, and of caprice in his disposition ; but 
1 had nothing else near me to attach myself to, and my heart 
felt the need of something to repose itself upon. His educa- 
tion had been neglected ; he looked upon me as his superior in 
mental powers and acquirements, and tacitly acknowledged my 
superiority. 1 felt that I was his equal in birth, and that gave 
an independence to my manner which had its effect. The 
caprice and tyranny I saw sometimes exercised on others, over 
whom he had power, were never manifested towards me. We 
became intimate friends, and frequent companions. Still I 
loved to be alone, and to indulge in the reveries of my own 
imagination, among the beautiful scenery by which I was sur- 
rounded. 

The villa stood in the midst of ornamented grounds, finely 
decorated with statues and fountains, and laid out into groves 
and alleys and shady bowers. Jt commanded a wide view of 
the Mediterranean, and the picturesque Ligurian coast. Every 
thing was assembled here that could gratify the taste or agree- 
ably occupy the mind. Soothed by the tranquillity of this ele- 
gant retreat, the turbulence of my feelings gradually subsided, 
and, blending with the romantic spell that still reigned over my 
imagination, produced a soft voluptuous melancholy. 

I had not been long under the roof of the Count, when our 
solitude was enlivened by another inhabitant. It was a daugh- 
ter of a relation of the Count, who had lately died in reduced 
circumstances, bequeathing this only child to his protection. I 
had heard much of her beauty from Filippo, but my fancy had 
become so engrossed by one idea of beauty as not to admit of 
any other. We were in the central saloon of the villa when 
she arrived. She was still in mourning, and approached, lean- 
ing on the Count's arm. As they ascended the marble portico, 
I was struck by the elegance of her figure and movement, by 
the grace with which the mezzaro, the bewitching veil of Genoa, 
was folded about her slender form. They entered. Heavens! 
what was my surprise when I beheld Biauca before me. It was 
herself ; pale with grief ; but still more matured in loveliness 
than when I had last beheld her. The time that had elapsed 
had developed the graces of her person ; and the sorrow she 
had undergone had diffused over her countenance an irresisti- 
ble tenderness. 

She blushed and trembled at seeing me, and tears rushed into 
her eyes, for she remembered m whose company she had been 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 65 

accustomed to behold me. For my part, I cannot express what 
were my emotions. By degrees I overcame the extreme shy- 
ness that had formerly paralyzed me in her presence. We were 
drawn together by sympathy of situation. We had each lost 
our best friend in the world ; we were each, in some measure 
thrown upon the kindness of others. When I came to know 
her intellectually, all my ideal pictu rings of her were confirmed. 
Her newness to the world, her delightful susceptibility to every 
thing beautiful and agreeable in nature, reminded me of my own 
emotions when first J escaped from the convent. Her rectitude 
of thinking delighted my judgment ; the sweetness of her nature 
wrapped itself around my heart ; and then her young and tender 
and budding loveliness, sent a delicious madness to my brain. 

I gazed upon her with a kind of idolatry, as something more 
than mortal ; and I felt humiliated at the idea of my compara- 
tive unworthiness. Yet she was mortal ; and one of mortality's 
most susceptible and loving compounds ; for she loved me ! 

How first I discovered the transporting truth I cannot recol- 
lect ; I believe it stole upon me by degrees, as a wonder past 
hope or belief. We were both at such a tender and loving age ; 
in constant intercourse with each other ; mingling in the same 
elegant pursuits ; for music, poetry, and painting were our mu- 
tual delights, and we were almost separated from society, among 
lovely and romantic scenery ! Is it strange that two young 
hearts thus brought together should readily twine round each 
other ? 

Oh, gods ! what a dream a transient dream ! of unalloyed 
delight then passed over my soul ! Then it was that the world 
around me was indeed a paradise, for I had a woman lovely, 
delicious woman, to share it with me. How often have I ram- 
bled over the picturesque shores of Sestri, or climbed its wild 
mountains, with the coast gemmed with villas, and the blue sea 
far below me, and the slender Pharo of Genoa on its romantic 
promontory in the distance ; and as I sustained the faltering 
steps of Bianca, have thought there could no un happiness enter 
into so beautiful a world. Why, oh, why is this budding season 
of life and love so transient why is this rosy cloud of love 
that sheds such a glow over the morning of our days so prone 
to brew up into the whirlwind and the storm ! 

I was the first to awaken from this blissful delirium of the 
affections. I had gained Bianca's heart ; what was I to do with 
it? I had no wealth nor prospects to entitle me to her hand. 
Was I to take advantage of her ignorance of the world, of her 
confiding affection, and draw her down to my own poverty? 



56 TALES OF A TRA VELLER. 

Was this requiting the hospitality of the Count? was this re- 
quiting the love of Bianca? 

Now first I began to feel that even successful love may have 
its bitterness. A corroding care gathered about my heart. I 
moved about the palace like a guilty being. I felt as if I had 
abused its hospitality as if I were a thief within its walls. I 
could no longer look with unembarrassed mien in the counte- 
nance of the Count. I accused myself of perfidy to him, and I 
thought he read it in my looks, and began to distrust and despise 
me. His manner had always been ostentatious and condescend- 
ing, it now appeared cold and haughty. Filippo, too, became 
reserved and distant; or at least I suspected him to be so. 
Heavens ! was this mere coinage of my brain : was I to be- 
come suspicious of all the world? a poor surmising wretch ; 
watching looks and gestures ; and torturing myself with miscon- 
structions. Or if true was I to remain beneath a roof where 
I was merely tolerated, and linger there on sufferance? " This 
is not to be endured ! " exclaimed I ; " I will tear myself from 
this state of self-abasement ; I will break through this fas- 
cination and fly Fly ? whither ? from the world ? for 

where is the world when I leave Bianca behind me? " 

My spirit was naturally proud, and swelled within me at the 
idea of being looked upon with contumely. Maay times I was 
on the point of declaring my family and rank, and asserting my 
equality, in the presence of Bianca, when I thought her relatives 
assumed an air of superiority. But the feeling was transient. 
I considered myself discarded and contemned by my family ; and 
had solemnly vowed never to own relationship to them, until 
they themselves should claim it. 

The struggle of my mind preyed upon my happiness and my 
health. It seemed as if the uncertainty of being loved would 
be less intolerable than thus to be assured of it, and yet not 
dare to enjoy the conviction. I was no longer the enraptured 
admirer of Bianca ; I no longer hung in ecstasy on the tones of 
her voice, nor drank in with insatiate gaze the beauty of her 
countenance. Her very smiles ceased to delight me, for I felt 
culpable in having won them. 

She could not but be sensible of the change in me, and in- 
quired the cause with her usual frankness and simplicity. I 
eoukl not evade the inquiry, for my heart was full to aching. 
I told her all the conflict of my soul ; my devouring passion, 
my bitter self-upbraiding. "Yes!" said I, "I am unworthy 
of you. I am an offcast from my family a wanderer a 
nameless, homeless wanderer, with nothing but poverty for my 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 57 

* 

portion, and yet I have dared to love you have dared to 
aspire to your love ! ' ' 

My agitation moved her to tears ; but she saw nothing in my 
situation so hopeless as I had depicted it. Brought up in a 
convent, she knew nothing of the world, its wants, its cares ; 
and, indeed, what woman is a worldly casuist in matters of 
the heart ! Nay, more she kindled into a sweet enthusiasm 
when she spoke of my fortunes and myself. We had dwelt 
together on the works of the famous masters. I had related to 
her their histories ; the high reputation, the influence, the mag- 
nificence to which they had attained ; the companions of 
princes, the favorites of kings, the pride and boast of nations. 
All this she applied to me. Her love saw nothing in their 
greatest productions that I was not able to achieve ; and when 
1 saw the lovely creature glow with fervor, and her whole coun- 
tenance radiant with the visions of my glory, which seemed 
breaking upon her, I was snatched up for the moment into the 
heaven of her own imagination. 

I am dwelling too long upon this part of my story ; yet I 
cannot help lingering over a period of my life, on which, with 
all its cares and conflicts, I look back with fondness ; for as yet 
my soul was unstained by a crime. I do not know what might 
have been the* result of this struggle between pride, delicacy, 
and passion, had I not read in a Neapolitan gazette an account 
of the sudden death of my brother. It was accompanied by 
an earnest inquiry for intelligence concerning me, and a prayer, 
should this notice meet my eye, that I would hasten to Naples, 
to comfort an infirm and afflicted father. 

I was naturally of an affectionate disposition ; but my brother 
had never been as a brother to me ; I had long considered 
myself as disconnected from him, and his death caused me but 
little emotion. The thoughts of my father, infirm and suffer- 
ing, touched me, however, to the quick ; and when I thought of 
him, that lofty, magnificent being, now bowed down and deso- 
late, and suing to me for comfort, all my resentment for past 
neglect was subdued, and a glow of filial affection was awakened 
within me. 

The predominant feeling, however, that overpowered all 
others was transport at the sudden change in my whole for- 
tunes. A home a name a rank wealth awaited me ; and 
love painted a still more rapturous prospect in the distance. I 
hastened to Bianca, and threw myself at her feet. u Oh, 
Bianca," exclaimed I, "at length I can claim you for my own. 
I am no longer a nameless adventurer, a neglected, rejected 



58 , TALES OP A TRAVELLED 

outcast. Look read, behold the tidings that restore me to 
my name and to myself ! ' ' 

I will" not dwell on the scene that ensued. Bianca rejoiced in 
the reverse of my situation, because she saw it lightened my 
heart of a load of care ; for her own part she had loved me for 
myself, and had never doubted that my own merits would com- 
mand both fame and fortune. 

I now felt all my native pride buoyant within me ; I no longer 
walked with my eyes bent to the dust ; hope elevated them to 
the skies ; my soul was lit up with fresh fires, and beamed from 
my countenance. 

I wished to impart the change in my circumstances to the 
Count ; to let him know who and what I was, and to make for- 
mal proposals for the hand of Bianca ; but the Count was absent 
on a distant estate. I opened my whole soul to Filippo. Now 
first I told him of my passion ; of the doubts and fears that 
had distracted me, and of the tidings that had suddenly dis- 
pelled them. He overwhelmed me with congratulations and 
with the warmest expressions of sympathy. I embraced him in 
the fulness of my heart. I felt compunctions for having sus- 
pected him of coldness, and asked his forgiveness for having 
ever doubted his friendship. 

Nothing is so warm and enthusiastic as a sudtlen expansion 
of the heart between young men. Filippo entered into our con- 
cerns with the most eager interest. He was our confidant and 
counsellor. It was determined that I should hasten at once to 
Naples to re-establish myself in my father's affections and my 
paternal home, and the moment the reconciliation was effected 
and my father's consent insured, I should return and demand 
Bianca of the Count. Filippo engaged to secure his father's 
acquiescence ; indeed, he undertook to watch over our interests, 
and was the channel through which we were to correspond. 

My parting with Bianca was tender delicious agonizing. 
It was in a little pavilion of the garden which had been one of 
our favorite resorts. How often and often did I return to have 
one more adieu to have her look once more on me in speech- 
less emotion to enjoy once more the rapturous sight of those 
tears streaming down her lovely cheeks to seize once more on 
that delicate hand, the frankly accorded pledge of love, and 
cover it with tears and kisses ! Heavens ! There is a delight 
even in the parting agony of two lovers worth a thousand tame 
pleasures of the world. I have her at this moment before my 
eyes at the window of the pavilion, putting aside tlie vines 
that clustered about the casement her light form beaming 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 59 

forth in virgin white her countenance all tears and smiles 
sending a thousand and a thousand adieus after me, as, hesitat- 
ing, in a delirium of fondness and agitation, I faltered my way 
down the avenue. 

As the bark bore me out of the harbor of Genoa, how eagerly 
my eyes stretched along the coast of Sestri, till it discerned the 
villa gleaming from among trees at the foot of the mountain. 
As long as day lasted, I gazed and gazed upon it, till it lessened 
and lessened to a mere white speck in the distance ; and still my 
intense and fixed gaze discerned it, when all other objects of the 
coast had blended into indistinct confusion, or were lost in the 
evening gloom. 

On arriving at Naples, I hastened to my paternal home. My 
heart yearned for the long-withheld blessing of a father's love. 
As I entered the proud portal of the ancestral palace, my emo- 
tions were so great that I could not speak. No one knew me. 
The servants gazed at me with curiosity and surprise. A few 
years of intellectual elevation and development had made a pro- 
digious change in the poor fugitive stripling from the convent. 
Still that no one should know me in my rightful home was 
overpowering. I felt like the prodigal son returned. I was a 
stranger in the house of my father. I burst into tears, and 
wept aloud. When I made myself known, however, all was 
changed. I who had once been almost repulsed from its walls, 
and forced to fly as an exile, was welcomed back with acclama- 
tion, with servility. One of the servants hastened to prepare 
my father for my reception ; my eagerness to receive the pater- 
nal embrace was so great that I could not await his return ; but 
hurried after him. 

What a spectacle met my eyes as I entered the chamber ! My 
father, whom 1 had left in the pride of vigorous age, whose 
noble and majestic bearing had so awed my young imagination, 
was bowed down and withered into decrepitude. A paralysis 
had ravaged his stately form, and left it a shaking ruin. He 
sat propped up in his chair, with pale, relaxed visage and glassy, 
wandering eye. His intellects had evidently shared in the rav- 
age of his frame. The servant was endeavoring to make him 
comprehend the visitor that was at hand. I tottered up to him 
and sunk at his feet. All his past coldness and neglect were 
forgotten in his present sufferings. I remembered only that he 
was my parent, and that I had deserted him. I clasped his 
knees ; my voice was almost stifled with convulsive sobs. " Par- 
don pardon oh my father ! ' ' was all that I could utter. 
His apprehension seemed slowly to return to him. He gazed at 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

me for some moments with a vague, inquiring look ; a convul- 
sive tremor quivered about his lips ; he feebly extended a shak- 
ing hand, laid it upon my head, and burst into an infantine flow 
of tears. 

From that moment he would scarcely spare me from his 
sight. I appeared the only object that his heart responded to 
in the world ; all else was as a blank to him. He had almost 
lost the powers of speech, and the reasoning faculty seemed at 
an end. He was mute and passive; excepting that tits of child- 
like weeping would sometimes come over him without any im- 
mediate cause. If I left the room at any time, his eye was 
incessantly fixed on the door till my return, and on my entrance 
there was another gush of tears. 

To talk with him of my concerns, in this ruined state of mind, 
would have been worse than useless ; to have left him, for ever 
so short a time, would have been cruel, unnatural. Here then 
was a new trial for my affections. I wrote to Bianca an ac- 
count of my return and of my actual situation ; painting in colors 
vivid, for they were true, the torments I suffered at our being 
thus separated ; for to the youthful lover every day of absence 
is an age of love lost. I enclosed the letter in one to Filippo, 
who was the channel of our correspondence. I received a reply 
from him full of friendship and sympathy ; from Bianca full of 
assurances of affection and constancy. 

Week after week, month after month elapsed, without mak- 
ing any change in my circumstances. The vital flame, which 
had seemed nearly extinct when first I met my father, kept 
fluttering on without any apparent diminution. I watched him 
constantly, faithfully I had almost said patiently. I knew 
that his death alone would set me free ; yet I never at any mo- 
ment wished it. I felt too glad to be able to make any atonement 
for past disobedience ; and, denied as I had been all endear- 
ments of relationship in my early days, my heart yearned towards 
a father, who, in his age and helplessness, had thrown himself 
entirely on me for comfort. My passion for Bianca gained daily 
more force from absence ; by constant meditation it wore itself 
a deeper and deeper channel. I made no new friends nor ac- 
quaintances ; sought none of the pleasures of Naples which my 
rank and fortune threw open to me. Mine was a heart that 
confined itself to few objects, but dwelt upon those with the in- 
tenser passion. To sit by my father, and administer to his wants, 
and to meditate on Bianca in the silence of his chamber, was 
my constant habit. Sometimes I amused myself with my pencil 
in portraying the image that was ever present to my imagina* 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 61 

tion. I transferred to canvas every look and smile of hers that 
dwelt in my heart. I showed them to my father in hopes of 
awakening an interest in his bosom for the mere shadow of my 
love ; but he was too far sunk in intellect to take any more than 
a child-like notice of them. 

When I received a letter from Bianca it was a new source of 
solitary luxury. Her letters, it is true, were less and less fre- 
quent, but they were always full of assurances of unabated 
affection. They breathed not the frank and innocent warmth 
with which she expressed herself in conversation, but I ac- 
counted for it from the embarrassment which inexperienced 
minds have often to express themselves upon paper. Filippo 
assured me of her unaltered constancy. They both lamented 
in the strongest terms our continued separation, though they 
did justice to the filial feeling that kept me by my father's side. 

Nearly eighteen months elapsed in this protracted exile. To 
me they were so many ages. Ardent and impetuous by nature, 
I scarcely know how I should have supported so long an ab- 
sence, had I not felt assured that the faith of Bianca was equal 
to my own. At length my father died. Life went from him 
almost imperceptibly. I hung over him in mute affliction, and 
watched the expiring spusms of nature. His lust faltering ac- 
cents whispered repeatedly a blessing on me alas! how has 
it been fulfilled ! 

When I had paid due honors to his remains, and laid them in 
the tomb of our ancestors, I arranged briefly my affairs ; put 
them in a posture to be easily at my command from a distance, 
and embarked once more, with a bounding heart, for Genoa. 

Our voyage was propitious, and oh ! what was my rapture 
when first, in the dawn of morning, I saw the shadowy summits 
of the Apennines rising almost like clouds above the horizon. 
The sweet breath of summer just moved us over the long 
wavering billows that were rolling us on towards Genoa. By 
degrees the coast of Sestri rose like a sweet creation of enchant- 
ment from the silver bosom of the deep. I behold the line of 
villages and palaces studding its borders. My eye reverted to a 
well-known point, and at length, from the confusion of distant 
objects, it singled out the villa which contained Bianca. It was 
a mere speck in the landscape, but glimmering from afar, the 
polar star of my heart. 

Again I gazed at it for a livelong summer's day ; but oh how 
different the emotions between departure and return. It now 
kept growing and growing, instead of lessening on my sight. 
My heart seemed to dilate with it. I looked at it through a 



62 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

telescope. I gradually defined one feature after another. The 
balconies of the central saloon where first I met Bianca beneath 
its roof ; the terrace where we so often had passed the delight- 
ful summer evenings ; the awning that shaded her chamber 
window I almost fancied I saw her form beneath it. Could 
she but know her lover was in the bark whose white sail now 
gleamed on the sunny bosom of the sea ! My fond impatience 
increased as we neared the coast. The ship seemed to lag 
lazily over the billows ; I could almost have sprung into the 
sea and swam to the desired shore. 

The shadows of evening gradually shrouded the scene, but 
the moon arose in all her fulness and beauty, and shed the 
tender light so dear to lovers, over the romantic coast of Sestri. 
My whole soul was bathed in unutterable tenderness. I antici- 
pated the heavenly evenings I should pass in wandering with 
Bianca by the light of that blessed moon. 

It was late at night before we entered the harbor. As early 
next morning as 1 could get released from the formalities of 
landing I threw myself on horseback and hastened to the villa. 
As 1 galloped round the rocky promontory on which stands the 
Faro, and saw the coast of Sestri opening upon me, a thousand 
anxieties and doubts suddenly sprang up in my bosom. There 
is something fearful in returning to those we love, while yet 
uncertain what ills or changes absence may have effected. The 
turbulence of my agitation shook my very frame. I spurred 
my horse to redoubled speed ; he was covered with foam when 
we both arrived panting at the gateway that opened to the 
grounds around the villa. I left my horse at a cottage and 
walked through the grounds, that I might regain tranquillity 
for the approaching interview. I chid myself for having suf- 
fered mere doubts and surmises thus suddenly to overcome me ; 
but I was always prone to be carried away by these gusts of the 
feelings. 

On entering the garden every thing bore the same look as 
when I had left it ; and this unchanged aspect of things reas- 
sured me. There were the alleys in which I had so often 
walked with Bianca ; the same shades under which we had so 
often sat during the noontide. There were the same flowers of 
which she was fond ; and which appeared still to be under the 
ministry of her hand. Every thing around looked and breathed 
of Bianca ; hope and joy flushed in my bosom at every step. 
I passed a little bower in which we had often sat and read 
together. A book and a glove lay on the bench. It was 
Bianca' s glove ; it was a volume of the Metastasio 1 hud given 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNQ ITALIAN. 63 

her. The glove lay in my favorite passage. I clasped them to 
my heart. "All is safe!" exclaimed I, with rapture, u she 
loves me ! she is still my own ! ' ' 

I bounded lightly along the avenue down which I had fal- 
tered so slowly at my departure. 1 beheld her favorite pavilion 
which had witnessed our parting scene. The window was open, 
with the same vine clambering about it, precisely as when 
she waved and wept me an adieu. Oh ! how transporting was 
the contrast in my situation. As I passed near the pavilion, 
1 heard the tones of a female voice. They thrilled through 
me with an appeal to my heart not to be mistaken. Before 
I could think, I felt they were Bianca's. For an instant I 
paused, overpowered with agitation. 1 feared to break in sud- 
denly upon her. I softly ascended the steps of the pavilion. 
The door was open. I saw Bianca seated at a table ; her back 
was towards me ; she was warbling a soft melancholy air, and 
was occupied in drawing. A glance sufficed to show me that 
she was copying one of my own paintings. I gazed on her for 
a moment in a delicious tumult of emotions. She paused in 
her singing ; a heavy sigh, almost a sob followed. I could no 
longer contain myself. "Bianca!*' exclaimed I, in a half 
smothered voice. She started at the sound ; brushed back the 
ringlets that hung clustering about her face ; darted a glance at 
me ; uttered a piercing shriek, and would have fallen to the 
earth, had I not caught her in my arms. 

" Bianca ! my own Bianca ! " exclaimed I, folding her to my 
bosom ; my voice stifled in sobs of convulsive joy. She lay in 
my arms without sense or motion. Alarmed at the effects of 
my own precipitation, J scarce knew what to do. I tried by a 
thousand endearing words to call her back to consciousness. 
She slowly recovered, and half opening her eyes fct where am 
I ? " murmured she faintly. u Here," exclaimed J, pressing her 
to my bosom. " Here ! close to the heart that adores you ; in 
the arms of your faithful Ottavio ! ' ' 

u Oh no ! no ! no ! " shrieked she, starting into sudden life and 
terror " away ! away ! leave me ! leave me ! " 

She tore herself from my arms ; rushed to a corner of the sa- 
loon, and covered her face with her hands, as if the very sight of 
me were baleful. I was thunderstruck I could not believe my 
senses. I followed her, trembling, confounded. 1 endeavored 
to take her hand, but she shrunk from my very touch with horror. 

" Good heavens, Biauca," exclaimed J, " what is the meaning 
of this ? Is this my reception after so long an absence ? Is this 
the love you professed for nie ? " 



64 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

At the mention of love, a shuddering ran through her. She 
turned to me a face wild with anguish. "No more of that! 
no more of that ! " gasped she " talk not to me of love I 
1 am married ! " 

I reeled as if I had received a mortal blow. A sickness 
struck to my very heart. I caught .at a window frame for 
support. For a moment or two, every thing was chaos around 
me. When I recovered, I beheld Bianca lying on a sofa ; her 
face buried in a pillow, and sobbing convulsively. Indignation 
at her fickleness for a moment overpowered every other feeling. 

"Faithless perjured " cried I, striding across the room. 
But another glance at that beautiful being in distress, checked 
all my wrath. Anger could not dwell together with her idea in 
my soul. 

"Oh, Bianca," exclaimed I, in anguish, " could I have dreamt 
of this ; could I have suspected you would have been false to 
me?" 

She raised her face all streaming with tears, all disordered 
with emotion, and gave me one appealing look " False to you ! 
they told me you were dead ! " 

" What," said I, " in spite of our constant correspondence?" 

She gazed wildly at ine " correspondence! what corre- 
spondence? " 

" Have you not repeatedly received and replied to my letters ? " 

She clasped her hands with solemnity and fervor "As I 
hope for mercy, never ! ' ' 

A horrible surmise shot through my brain " Who told you 
I was dead?" 

"It was reported that the ship in which you embarked for 
Naples perished at sea." 

" But who told you the report? " 

She paused for an instant, and trembled 

"Filippo!" 

" May the God of heaven curse him ! " cried I, extending my 
clinched fists aloft. 

" Oh do not curse him do not curse him ! " exclaimed she 
" He is he is my husband ! " 

This was all that was wanting to unfold the perfidy that had 
been practised upon me. My blood boiled like liquid fire in 
my veins. I gasped with rage too great for utterance. I 
remained for a time bewildered by the whirl of horrible thoughts 
that rushed through my mind. The poor victim of deception 
before me thought it was with her I was incensed. She faintly 
murmured forth her exculpation. I will not dwell upon it. I 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 65 

saw it in more than she meant to reveal. J saw with a glance 
how both of us had been betrayed. " 'Tis well ! " muttered I 
to myself in smothered accents of concentrated fury. "He 
shall account to me for this ! " 

Bianca overheard me. New terror flashed in her counte- 
nance. " For mercy's sake do not meet him say nothing of 
what has passed for my sake say nothing to him I only shall 
be the sufferer ! ' ' 

A new suspicion darted across my mind "What ! " exclaimed 
I "do you then fear him is he unkind to you tell me," 
reiterated I, grasping her hand and looking her eagerly in the 
face " tell me dares he to use you harshly ! " 

"No! no! no!" cried she faltering and embarrassed: but 
the glance at her face had told me volumes. 1 saw in her pallid 
and wasted features ; in the prompt terror and subdued agony 
of her eye, a whole history of a mind broken down by tyranny. 
Great God ! and was this beauteous flower snatched from me to 
be thus trampled upon ? The idea roused me to madness. I 
clinched my teeth and my hands ; I foamed at the mouth ; every 
passion seemed to have resolved itself into the fury that like a 
lava boiled within my heart. Bianca shrunk from me in speech- 
less affright. As I strode by the window my eye darted down 
the alley. P^atal moment ! 1 beheld Fiiippo at a distance ! My 
brain was in a delirium I sprung from my pavilion, and was 
before him with the quickness of lightning, He saw me as I 
came rushing upon him he turned pale, looked wildly to right 
and left, as if he would have fled, and trembling drew his sword. 

" Wretch ! " cried J, " well you may draw your weapon ! " 

I spake not another word I snatched forth a stiletto, put by 
the sword which trembled in his hand, and buried my poniard 
in his bosom. He fell with the blow, but my rage was unsated. 
I sprang upon him with the blood-thirsty feeling of a tiger; 
redoubled my blows ; mangled him in my frenzy, grasped him 
by the throat, until with reiterated wounds and strangling con- 
vulsions he expired in my grasp. 1 remained glaring on the 
countenance, horrible in death, that seemed to stare back with 
its protruded eyes upon me. Piercing shrieks roused me from 
my delirium. I looked round and beheld Bianca flying dis- 
tractedly towards us. My brain whirled. I waited not to meet 
her, but fled from the scene of horror. I fled forth from the 
garden like another Cain, a hell within my bosom, and a curse 
upon my head. I fled without knowing whither almost without 
knowing why my only idea was to get farther and farther from 
the horrors I had left behind ; as if I could throw space between 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

myself and my conscience. I fled to the Apennines, and wan- 
dered for days and days among their savage heights. How I 
existed I cannot tell what rocks and precipices I braved, 
and how I braved them, I know not. I kept on and on trying 
to out-travel the curse that clung to me. Alas, the shrieks 
of Bianca rung forever in my ear. The horrible countenance of 
my victim was forever before my eyes. " The blood of Filippo 
cried to me from the ground." Rocks, trees, and torrents all 
resounded with my crime. 

Then it was I felt how much more insupportable is the 
anguish of remorse than every other mental pang. Oh ! could 
I but have cast off this crime that festered in rny heart ; could I 
but have regained the innocence that reigned in my breast as 
I entered the garden at Sestri ; could I but have restored my 
victim to life, I felt as if I could look on with transport even 
though Bianca were in his arms. 

By degrees this frenzied fever of remorse settled into a per- 
manent malady of the mind. Into one of the most horrible that 
ever poor wretch wa cursed with. Wherever I went, the coun- 
tenance of him I had slain appeared to follow me. Wherever I 
turned my head I beheld it behind me, hideous with the contor- 
tions of the dying moment. I have tried in every way to escape 
from this horrible phantom ; but in vain. I know not whether 
it is an illusion of the mind, the consequence of my dismal edu- 
cation at the convent, or whether a phantom really sent by 
heaven to punish me ; but there it ever is at all times in all 
places nor has time nor habit had any effect in familiarizing 
me with its terrors. I have travelled from place to place, 
plunged into amusements tried dissipation and distraction of 
every kind all all in vain. 

I once had recourse to my pencil as a desperate experiment. 
I painted an exact resemblance of this phantom face. I placed 
it before me in hopes that by constantly contemplating the copy 
I might diminish the effect of the original. But 1 only doubled 
instead of diminishing the misery. 

Such is the curse that has clung to my footsteps that has 
made my life a burthen but the thoughts of death, terrible. 
God knows what I have suffered. What days and days, and 
nights and nights, of sleepless torment. What a never-dying 
worm has preyed upon my heart ; what an unquenchable fire 
has burned within my biain. He knows the wrongs that wrought 
upon my poor weak nature ; that converted the tenderest of 
affections iuto the deadliest of fury. He knows best whether a 
frail erring creature has expiated by long-enduring torture and 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ITALIAN. 67 

measureless remorse, the crime of a moment of madness. Often, 
often have I prostrated myself in the dust, and implored that 
he would give me a sign of his forgiveness, and let me die. 

Thus far had I written some time since. 1 had meant to leave 
this record of misery and crime with you, to be read when I 
should be no more. My prayer to heaven has at length been 
heard. You were witness to my emotions last evening at the per- 
formance of the Miserere ; when the vaulted temple resounded 
with the words of atonement and redemption. 1 heard a voice 
speaking to me from the midst of the music ; 1 heard it rising 
above the pealing of the organ and the voices of the choir ; it 
spoke to me in tones of celestial melody ; it promised mercy 
and forgiveness, but demanded from me full expiation. I go 
to make it. To-morrow I shall be on my way to Genoa to sur- 
render myself to justice. You who have pitied my sufferings ; 
who have poured the balm of sympathy into my wounds, do not 
shrink from my memory with abhorrence now that you know 
my story. Recollect, when you read of my crime I shall have 
atoned for it with my blood ! 

When the Baronet had finished, there was an universal desire 
expresses! to see the painting of this frightful visage. After 
much entreaty the Baronet consented, on condition that they 
should only visit it one by one. He called his housekeeper and 
gave her charge to conduct the gentlemen singly to the cham- 
ber. They all returned varying in their stories : some affected 
in one way, and some in another ; some more, some less ; but 
all agreeing that there was a certain something about the paint- 
ing that had a very odd effect upon the feelings. 

I stood in a deep bow window with the Baronet, and could 
not help expressing my wonder. "After all," said I, "there 
are certain mysteries in our nature, certain inscrutable impulses 
and influences, that warrant one in being superstitious. Who 
can account for so many persons of different characters being 
thus strangely affected by a mere painting? " 

"And especially when not one of them has seen it! "said 
the Baronet with a smile. 

" How? " exclaimed I, u not seen it? " 

44 Not one of them, " replied he, laying his finger on his lips 
in sign of secrecy. 4 4 1 saw that some of them were in a ban- 
tering vein, and I did not choose that the memento of the poor 
Italian should be made a jest of. So I gave the housekeeper a 
hint to show them all to a different chamber ! " 

Thus end the Stories of the Nervous Gentleman. 



PART SECOND. 
BUCKTHORNE AND HIS FRIENDS. 



'Tis a very good world that we live in, 

To lend, or to spend, or to give in ; 

But to beg, or to borrow, or get a man's own 

'Tie the very worst world, sir, that ever was known." 

LINES FROM AN INN WINDOW. 



LITERARY LIFE. 

AMONG the great variety of characters which fall in a travel- 
ler's way, I became acquainted during my sojourn in London, 
with an eccentric personage of the name of Buckthorne. He 
was a literary man, had lived much in the metropolis, and had 
acquired a great deal of curious, though unprofitable knowl- 
edge concerning it. He was a great observer of character, and 
could give the natural history of every odd animal that pre- 
sented itself in this great wilderness of men. Finding me very 
curious about literary life and literary characters, he took much 
pains to gratify my curiosity. 

44 The literary world of England," said he to me one day, u is 
made up of a number of little fraternities, each existing merely 
for itself, and thinking the rest of the world created only to 
look on and admire. It may be resembled to the firmament, 
consisting of a number of systems, each composed of its own 
central sun with its revolving train of moons and satellites, all 
acting in the most harmonious concord ; but the comparison 
fails in part, inasmuch as the literary world has no general con- 
cord. Each system acts independently of the rest, and indeed 
considers all other stars as mere exhalations and transient 
meteors, beaming for a while with false fires, but doomed soon 
to fall and be forgotten ; while its own luminaries are the lights 
of the universe, destined to increase in splendor and to shine 
steadily on to immortality." 
68 



LITERARY LIFE. 69 

u And pray," said I, u how is a man to get a peep into one of 
these systems you talk of? I presume au intercourse with 
authors is a kind of intellectual exchange, where one must 
bring his commodities to barter, and always give a quid pro 
quo." 

44 Pooh, pooh how you mistake," said Buckthorne, smil- 
ing: "you must never think to become popular among wits by 
shining. They go into society to shine themselves, not to ad- 
mire the brilliancy of others. I thought as you do when I first 
cultivated the society of men of letters, and never went to a 
blue-stocking coterie without studying my part beforehand as 
diligently as an actor. The consequence was, I soon got the 
name of an intolerable proser, and should in a little while have 
been completely excommunicated had I not changed my plan 
of operations. From thenceforth I became a most assiduous 
listener, or if ever I were eloquent, it was tete-a-tete with an 
author in praise of his own works, or what is nearly as accept- 
able, in disparagement of the works of his contemporaries. If 
ever he spoke favorably of the productions of some particular 
friend, I ventured boldly to dissent from him, and to prove that 
his friend was a blockhead ; and much as people say of the 
pertinacity and irritability of authors, I never found one to 
take offence at my contradictions. No, no, sir, authors are 
particularly candid in admitting the faults of their friends. 

44 Indeed, I was extremely sparing of my remarks on all 
modern works, excepting to make sarcastic observations on the 
most distinguished writers of the day. I never ventured to 
praise an author that had not been dead at least half a century ; 
and even then I was rather cautious ; for you must know that 
many old writers have been enlisted under the banners of dif- 
ferent sects, and their merits have become as complete topics 
of party prejudice and dispute, as the merits of living states- 
men and politicians. Nay, there have been whole periods of 
literature absolutely taboo d, to use a South Sea phrase. It is, 
for example, as much as a man's reputation is worth, in some 
circles, to say a word in praise of any writers of the reign of 
Charles the Second, or even of Queen Anne ; they being all 
declared to be Frenchmen in disguise." 

44 And pray, then," said I, 4fc when am I to know that I am on 
safe grounds ; being totally unacquainted with the literary land- 
marks and the boundary lines of fashionable taste? " 

44 Oh," replied he, 44 there is fortunately one tract of literature 
that forms a kind of neutral ground, on which all the literary 
world meet amicably ; lay down their weapons, and even run 



70 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

riot in their excess of good humor, and this is, the reigns of 
Elizabeth and James. Here you may praise away at a venture ; 
here it is k cut and come again/ and the more obscure the 
author, and the more quaint and crabbed his style, the more 
your admiration will smack of the real relish of the connoisseur ; 
whose taste, like that of an epicure, is always for game that has 
an antiquated flavor. 

" But," continued he, u as you seem anxious to know some- 
thing of literary society I will take an opportunity to introduce 
you to some coterie, where the talents of the day are assembled. 
I cannot promise you, however, that they will be of the first 
order. Somehow or other, our great geniuses are not gregari- 
ous, they do not go in flocks, but fly singly in general society. 
They prefer mingling, like common men, with the multitude ; 
and are apt to carry nothing of the author about them but the 
reputation. It is only the inferior orders that herd together, 
acquire strength and importance by their confederacies, and 
bear all the distinctive characteristics of their species." 



A LITERARY DINNER. 

A FEW days after this conversation with Mr. Buckthorne, he 
called upon me, and took me with him to a regular literary 
dinner. It was given by a great bookseller, or rather a company 
of booksellers, whose firm surpassed in length even that of 
Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-uego. 

1 was surprised to find between twenty and thirty guests 
assembled, most of whom I had never seen before. Buckthorne 
explained this to me by informing me that this was a "busi- 
ness dinner," or kind of field day, which the house gave about 
twice a year to its authors. It is true, they did occasionally 
give snug dinners to three or four literary men at a time, but 
then these were generally select authors ; favorites of the pub- 
lic ; such as had arrived at their sixth and seventh editions. 
"There are," said he, "certain geographical boundaries in the 
land of literature, and you may judge tolerably well of an 
author's popularity, by the wine his bookseller gives him. An 
author crosses the port line about the third edition and gets 
into claret, but when he has reached the sixth and seventh, he 
may revel in champagne and burgundy." 

"And pray," said I, "how far may these gentlemen have 
reached that I see around me ; are any of these claret drinkers ? " 



A LITERARY DINNER. 71 

u Not exactly, not exactly. You find at these great dinners 
the common steady run of authors, one, two, edition men ; 
or if any others are invited they are aware that it is a kind of 
republican meeting. You understand me a meeting of the 
republic of letters, and that they must expect nothing but plain 
substantial fare." 

These hints enabled me to comprehend more fully the arrange- 
ment of the table. The two ends were occupied by two partners 
of the house. And the host seemed to have adopted Addison's 
ideas as to the literary precedence of his guests. A popular 
poet had the post of honor, opposite to whom was a hot-pressed 
traveller in quarto, with plates. A grave-looking antiquarian, 
who had produced several solid works, which were much quoted 
and little read, was treated with great respect, and seated next 
to a neat, dressy gentleman in black, who had written a thin, 
genteel, hot-pressed octavo on political economy that was getting 
into fashion. Several three-volume duodecimo men of fair 
currency were placed about the centre of the table ; while the 
lower end was taken up with small poets, translators, and 
authors, who had not as yet risen into much notice. 

The conversation during dinner was by fits and starts ; break- 
ing out here and there in various parts of the table in small 
flashes, and ending in smoke. The poet, who had the confidence 
of a man on good terms with the world and independent of his 
bookseller, was very gay and brilliant, and said many clever 
things, which set the partner next him in a roar, and delighted 
all the company. The other partner, however, maintained his 
sedateness, and kept carving on, with the air of a thorough 
man of business, intent upon the occupation of the moment. 
His gravity was explained to me by my friend Buckthorne. He 
informed me that the concerns of the house were admirably 
distributed among the partners. " Thus, for instance,*' said 
he, u the grave gentleman is the carving partner who attends to 
the joints, and the other is the laughing partner who attends 
to the jokes. " 

The general conversation was chiefly carried on at the upper 
end of the table ; as the authors there seemed to possess the 
greatest courage of the tongue. As to the crew at the lower 
end, if they did not make much figure in talking, they did 
in eating. Never was there a more determined, inveterate, 
thoroughly-sustained attack on the trencher, than by this 
phalanx of masticators. When the cloth was removed, and 
the wine began to circulate, they grew very merry and jocose 
among themselves. Their jokes, however, if by chance any of 



72 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

them reached the upper end of the table, seldom produced 
much effect. Even the laughing partner did not seem to think 
it necessary to honor them with a smile; which my neighbor 
Buckthorne accounted for, by informing me that there was a 
certain degree of popularity to be obtained, before a bookseller 
could afford to laugh at an author's jokes. 

Among this crew of questionable gentlemen thus seated below 
the salt, my eye singled out one in particular. He was rather 
shabbily dressed ; though he had evidently made the most of a 
rusty black coat, and wore his shirt-frill plaited and puffed out 
voluminously at the bosom. His face was dusky, but florid 
perhaps a little too florid, particularly about the nose, though 
the rosy hue gave the greater lustre to a twinkling black eye. 
He had a little the look of a boon companion, with thart dash of 
the poor devil in it which gives an inexpressibly mellow tone to 
a man's humor. I had seldom seen a face of richer promise ; 
but never was promise so ill kept. He said nothing ; ate and 
drank with the keen appetite of a gazetteer, and scarcely stopped 
to laugh even at the good jokes from the upper end of the 
table. I inquired who he was. Buckthorne looked at him at- 
tentively. "Gad," said he, U I have seen that face before, 
but where I cannot recollect. He cannot be an author of any 
note. I suppose some writer of sermons or grinder of foreign 
travels." 

After dinner we retired to another room to take tea and 
coffee, where we were re-enforced by a cloud of inferior guests. 
Authors of small volumes in boards, and pamphlets stitched in 
blue paper. These had not as yet arrived to the importance of 
a dinner invitation, but were invited occasionally to pass the 
evening u iu a friendly way." They were very respectful to 
the partners, and indeed seemed to stand a little in awe of 
them ; but they paid very devoted court to the lady of the 
house, and were extravagantly fond of the children. I looked 
round for the poor devil author in the rusty black coat and 
magnificent frill, but he had disappeared immediately after 
leaving the table ; having a dread, no doubt, of the glaring 
light of a drawing-room. Finding nothing farther to interest 
my attention, I took my departure as soon as coffee had been 
served, leaving the port and the thin, genteel, hot-pressed, 
octavo gentlemen, masters of the field. 



THE CLUB OF QUEER FELLOWS. 73 



THE CLUB OF QUEER FELLOWS. 

I THINK it was but the very next evening that in coming out 
of Covent Garden Theatre with my eccentric friend Buck- 
thorne, he proposed to give me another peep at life and charac- 
ter. Finding me willing for any research of the kind, he took 
me through a variety of the narrow courts and lanes about 
Covent Garden, until we stopped before a tavern from which 
we heard the bursts of merriment of a jovial party. There 
would be a loud peal of laughter, then an interval, then another 
peal ; as if a prime wag were telling a story. After a little 
while there was a song, and at the close of each stanza a hearty 
roar and a vehement thumping on the table. 

44 This is the place/* whispered Buckthorne. u It is the 
'Club of Queer Fellows.' A great resort of the small wits, 
third-rate actors, and newspaper critics of the theatres. Any 
one can go in on paying a shilling at the bar for the use of the 
club." 

We entered, therefore, without ceremony, and took our seats 
at a lone table in a dusky corner of the room. The club was 
assembled round a table, on which stood beverages of various 
kinds, according to the taste of the individual. The members 
were a set of queer fellows indeed ; but what was my surprise 
on recognizing in the prime wit of the meeting the poor devil 
author whom 1 had remarked at the booksellers' dinner for his 
promising face and his complete taciturnity. Matters, however, 
were entirely changed with him. There he was a mere cipher : 
here he was lord of the ascendant ; the choice spirit, the dom- 
inant genius. He sat at the head of the table with his hat on, 
and an eye beaming even more luminously than his nose. He 
had a quiz and a fillip for every one, and a good thing on every 
occasion. Nothing could be said or done without eliciting a 
spark from him ; and 1 solemnly declare I have heard much 
worse wit even from noblemen. His jokes, it must be con- 
fessed, were rather wet, but they suited the circle in which he 
presided. The company were in that maudlin mood when a 
little wit goes a great way. Every time he opened his lips 
there was sure to be a roar, and sometimes before he had time 
to speak'. 

We were fortunate enough to enter in time for a glee com- 
posed by him expressly for the club, and which he sang with 
two boon companions, who would have been worthy subjects for 



74 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

Hogarth's pencil. As they were each provided with a written 
copy, 1 was enabled to procure the reading of it. 

Merrily, merrily push round the glass, 

And merrily troll the glee, 
For he who won't drink till he wink is an ass, 

So neighbor I drink to thee. 

Merrily, merrily puddle thy nose, 

Until it right rosy shall be ; 
For a jolly red nose, I speak under the rose, 

Is a sign of good company. 

We waited until the party broke up, and no one but the wit 
remained. He sat at the table with his legs stretched under it, 
and wide apart ; his hands in his breeches pockets ; his head 
drooped upon his breast; and gazing with lack-lustre counte- 
nance on an empty tankard. His gayety was gone, his fire com- 
pletely quenched. 

My companion approached and startled him from his fit of 
brown study, introducing himself on the strength of their hav- 
ing dined together at the booksellers'. 

44 By the way," said he, " it seems to me I have seen you 
before ; your face is surely the face of an old acquaintance, 
though for the life of me I cannot tell where I have known 
you." 

4 * Very likely," said he with a smile ; " many of my old friends 
have forgotten me. Though, to tell the truth, my memory in 
this instance is as bad as your own. If, however, it will assist 
your recollection in any way, my name is Thomas Dribble, at 
your service." 

44 What, Tom Dribble, who was at old Birchell's school in 
Warwickshire ? ' ' 

44 The same," said the other, coolly. 

44 Why, then we are old schoolmates, though it's no wonder 
you don't recollect me. I was your junior by several years; 
don't you recollect little Jack Buckthorne? " 

Here then ensued a scene of school-fellow recognition ; and a 
world of talk about old school times and school pranks. Mr. 
Dribble ended by observing, with a heavy sigh, u that times 
were sadly changed since those daj's." 

44 Faith, Mr. Dribble," said I, 44 you seem quite a different 
man here from what you were at dinner. I had no idea that 
you had so much stuff in you. There you were all silence ; but 
here you absolutely keep the table in a roar." 

44 Ah, my dear sir," replied he, with a shake of the head and 



THE CLUB OF QUEER FELLOWS. 75 

a shrug of the shoulder, " I'm a mere glow-worm. I never 
shine by daylight. Besides, it's a hard thing for a poor devil 
of an author to shine at the table of a rich bookseller. Who do 
you think would laugh at any thing I could say, when I had 
some of the current wits of the day about me ? But here, though 
a poor devil, I am among still poorer devils than myself ; men 
who look up to me as a man of letters and a bel esprit, and all 
my jokes pass as sterling gold from the mint." 

44 You surely do yourself injustice, sir," said I ; " I have cer- 
tainly heard more good things from you this evening than from 
any of those beaux esprits by whom you appear to have been so 
daunted." 

u Ah, sir ! but they have luck on their side ; they are in the 
fashion there's nothing like being in fashion. A man that 
has once got his character up for a wit, is always sure of a laugh, 
say what he may. He may utter as much nonsense as he pleases, 
and all will pass current. No one stops to question the coin of 
a rich man ; but a poor devil cannot pass off either a joke or a 
guinea, without its being examined on both sides. Wit and coin 
are always doubted with a threadbare coat. 

fc4 For my part," continued he, giving his hat a twitch a little 
more on one side, u for my part, I hate your fine dinners ; there's 
nothing, sir, like the freedom of a chop-house. I'd rather, any 
time, have my steak and tankard among my own set, than drink 
claret and eat venison with your cursed civil, elegant company, 
who never laugh at a good joke from a poor devil, for fear of 
its being vulgar. A good joke grows in a wet soil ; it flourishes 
in low places, but withers on your d d high, dry grounds. 
1 once kept high company, sir, until I nearly ruined myself ; I 
grew so dull, and vapid, and genteel. Nothing saved me but 
being arrested by my landlady and thrown into prison ; where a 
course of catch-clubs, eight-penny ale, and poor-devil company, 
manured my mind and brought it back to itself again." 

As it was now growing late we parted for the evening ; though 
I felt anxious to know more of this practical philosopher. I 
was glad, therefore, when Buckthorne proposed to have another 
meeting to talk over old school times, and inquired his school- 
mate's address. The latter seemed at first a little shy of nam- 
ing his lodgings ; but suddenly assuming an air of hardihood 
4 'Green Arbor court, sir," exclaimed he " number in 
Green Arbor court. You must know the place. Classic ground, 
sir ! classic ground ! It was there Goldsmith wrote his Vicar of 
Wakefield. I always like to live in literary haunts." 

I was amused with this whimsical apology for shabby quar- 



76 TALES OF A TBAVELLEB. 

ters. On our way homewards Buckthorne assured me that 
this Dribble had been the prime wit and great wag of the school 
in their boyish days, and one of those unlucky urchins denomi- 
nated bright geniuses. As he perceived me curious respecting 
his old schoolmate, he promised to take me with him in his 
proposed visit to Green Arbor court. 

A few mornings afterwards he called upon me, and we set 
forth on our expedition. He led me through a variety of 
singular alleys, and courts, and blind passages ; for he appeared 
to be profoundly versed in all the intricate geography of the 
metropolis. At length we came out upon Fleet Market, and 
traversing it, turned up a narrow street to the bottom of a long 
steep flight of stone steps, named Break-neck Stairs. These, 
he told me, led up to Green Arbor court, and that down them 
poor Goldsmith might many a time have risked his neck. 
When we entered the court, I could not but smile to think in 
what out-of-the-way corners genius produces her bantlings ! 
And the muses, those capricious dames, who, forsooth, so often 
refuse to visit palaces, and deny a single smile to votaries in 
splendid studies and gilded drawing-rooms, what holes and 
barrows will they frequent to lavish their favors on some ragged 
disciple ! 

This Green Arbor court I found to be a small square of tall 
and miserable houses, the very intestines of which seemed 
turned inside out, to judge from the old garments and frippery 
that fluttered from every window. It appeared to be a region of 
washerwomen, and lines were stretched about the little square, 
on which clothes were dangling to dry. Just as we entered the 
square, a scuttle took place between two viragoes about a dis- 
puted right to a washtub, and immediately the whole community, 
was in a hubbub. Heads in mob caps popped out of every 
window, and such a clamor of tongues ensued that I was fain 
to stop my ears. Every Amazon took part with one or other of 
the disputants, and brandished her arms dripping with soapsuds, 
and fired away from her window as from the embrazure of a 
fortress ; while the swarms of children nestled and cradled in 
every procreant chamber of this hive, waking with the noise, 
set up their shrill pipes to swell the general concert. 

Poor Goldsmith ! what a time must he have had of it, with 
his quiet disposition and nervous habits, penned up in this den 
of noise and vulgarity. How strange that while every sight 
and sound was sufficient to embitter the heart and fill it with 
misanthropy, his pen should be dropping the honey of Hybla. 
Yet it is more than probable that he drew many of his iniuciita- 



THE POOR DEVIL AUTHOR. 77 

ble pictures of low life from the scenes which surrounded him 
in this abode. The circumstance of Mrs. Tibbs being obliged 
to wash her husband's two shirts in a neighbor's house, who 
refused to lend her washtub, may have been no sport of fancy, 
but a fact passing under his own eye. His landlady may have 
sat for the picture, and Beau Tibbs' scanty wardrobe have been 
a fac-simile of his own. 

It was with some difficulty that we found our way to Drib- 
ble's lodgings. They were up tw6 pair of stairs, in a room that 
looked upon the court, and when we entered he was seated on 
the edge of his bed, writing at a broken table. He received us, 
however, with a free, open, poor devil air, that was irresistible. 
It is true he did at first appear slightly confused ; buttoned up 
his waistcoat a little higher and tucked in a stray frill of linen. 
But he recollected himself in an instant ; gave a half swagger, 
half leer, as he stepped forth to receive us ; drew a three-legged 
stool for Mr. Buckthorne ; pointed me to a lumbering old damask 
chair that looked like a dethroned monarch in exile, and bade 
us welcome to his garret. 

We soon got engaged in conversation. Buckthorne and he 
had much to say about early school scenes ; and as nothing 
opens a man's heart more than recollections of the kind, we 
soon drew from him a brief outline of his literary career. 



THE POOR DEVIL AUTHOR. 

I BEGAN life unluckily by being the wag and bright fellow at 
school ; and I had the farther misfortune of becoming the great 
genius of my native village. My father was a country attor- 
ney, and intended that 1 should succeed him in business ; but 
I had too much genius to study, and he was too fond of my 
genius to force it into the traces. So I fell into bad company 
and took to bad habits. Do not mistake me. I mean that I 
fell into the company of village literati and village blues, and 
took to writing village poetry. 

It was quite the fashion in the village to be literary. We 
had a little knot of choice spirits who assembled frequently 
together, formed ourselves into a Literary, Scientific, and 
Philosophical Society, and fancied ourselves the most learned 
philos in existence. Every one had a great character assigned 
him, suggested by some casual habit or affectation. One heavy 



78 TALES OF A TRA VELLER. 

fellow drank an enormous quantity of tea ; rolled in his arm- 
chair, talked sententiously, pronounced dogmatically, and was 
considered a second Dr. Johnson ; another, who happened to he 
a curate, uttered coarse jokes, wrote doggerel rhymes, and was 
the Swift of our association. Thus we had also our Popes and 
Goldsmiths and Addisons, and a blue-stocking lady, whose 
drawing-room we frequented, who corresponded about nothing 
with all the world, and wrote letters with the stiffness and for- 
mality of a printed book, wdfe cried up as another Mrs. Mon- 
tagu. I was, by common consent, the juvenile prodigy, the 
poetical youth, the great genius, the pride and hope of the 
village, through whom it was to become one day as celebrated 
as Stratford-on-Avon. 

My father died and left me his blessing and his business. 
His blessing brought no money into my pocket ; and as to his 
business it soon deserted me : for I was busy writing poetry, 
and could not attend to law ; and my clients, though they had 
great respect for my talents, had no faith in a poetical attorney. 

1 lost my business therefore, spent my money, and finished 
my poem. It was the Pleasures of Melancholy, and was cried 
up to the skies by the whole circle. The Pleasures of Imagina- 
tion, the Pleasures of Hope, and the Pleasures of Memory, 
though each had placed its author in the first rank of poets, 
were blank prose in comparison. Our Mrs. Montagu would cry 
over it from beginning to end. It was pronounced by all the 
members of the Literary, Scientific, and Philosophical Society 
the greatest poem of the age, and all anticipated the noise it 
would make in the great world. There was not a doubt but 
the London booksellers would be mad after it, and the only 
fear of my friends was, that I would make a sacrifice by sell- 
ing it too cheap. Every time they talked the matter over they 
increased the price. They reckoned up the great sums given 
for the poems of certain popular writers, and determined that 
mine was worth more than all put together, and ought to be 
paid for accordingly. For my part, I was modest in my ex- 
pectations, and determined that I would be satisfied with a 
thousand guineas. So 1 put my poem in my pocket and set off 
for London. 

My journey was joyous. My heart was light as my purse, 
and my head full of anticipations of fame and fortune. With 
what swelling pride did I cast my eyes upon old London from 
the heights of Highgate. I was like a general looking down 
upon a place he expects to conquer. The great metropolis lay 
stretched before me, buried under a home-made cloud of murky 



THIS POOR DEVIL AUTHOR. T9 

smoke, that wrapped it from the brightness of a sunny day, 
and formed for it a kind of artificial bad weather. At the out- 
skirts of the city, away to the west, the smoke gradually 
decreased until all was clear and sunny, and the view stretched 
uninterrupted to the blue line of the Kentish Hills. 

My eye turned fondly to where the mighty cupola of St. 
Paul's swelled dimly through this misty chaos, and J pictured 
to myself the solemn realm of learning that lies about its base. 
How soon should the Pleasures of Melancholy throw this world 
of booksellers and printers into a bustle of business and delight ! 
How soon should I hear my name repeated by printers' devils 
throughout Pater Noster Row, and Angel Court, and Ave 
Maria Lane, until Amen corner should echo back the sound ! 

Arrived in town, I repaired at once to the most fashionable 
publisher. Every new author patronizes him of course. In 
fact, it had been determined in the village circle that he should 
be the fortunate man. I cannot tell you how vaiiigloriously I 
walked the streets ; my head was in the clouds. 1 felt the airs 
of heaven playing about it, and fancied it already encircled by 
a halo of literary glory. As I passed by the windows of book- 
shops, I anticipated the time when my work would be shining 
among the hot-pressed wonders of the day ; and my face, 
scratched on copper, or cut in wood, figuring in fellowship 
with those of Scott and Byron and Moore. 

When I applied at the publisher's house there was something 
in the loftiness of my air, and the dinginess of iny dress, that 
struck the clerks with reverence. They doubtless took me for 
some person of consequence, probably a digger of Greek roots, 
or a penetrator of pyramids. A proud man in a dirty shirt is 
always an imposing character in the world of letters ; one must 
feel intellectually secure before he can venture to dress shab- 
bily ; none but a great scholar or a great genius dares to be 
dirty ; so I was ushered at once to the sanctum sanctorum of 
this high priest of Minerva. 

The publishing of books is a very different affair now-a-days 
from what it was in the time of Bernard Lintot. I found the 
publisher a fashionably-dressed man, in an elegant drawing- 
room, furnished with sofas and portraits of celebrated authors, 
and cases of splendidly bound books. He was writing letters 
at an elegant table. This was transacting business in style. 
The place seemed suited to the magnificent publications that 
issued from it. I rejoiced at the choice I had made of a pub- 
lisher, for I always liked to encourage men of taste and spirit. 

I stepped up to the table with the lofty poetical port that I 



80 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

had been accustomed to maintain in our village circle ; though 
I threw in it something of a patronizing air, such as one feels 
when about to make a man's fortune. The publisher paused 
with his pen in his hand, and seemed waiting in mute suspense 
to know what was to be announced by so singular an apparition. 

I put him at his ease in a moment, for I felt that 1 had but 
to come, see, and conquer. I made known my name, and the 
name of my poem ; produced my precious roll of blotted manu- 
script, laid it on the table with an emphasis, and told him at 
once, to save time and come directly to the point, the price was 
one thousand guineas. 

I had given him no time to speak, nor did he seem so in- 
clined. He continued looking at me for a moment with an air 
of whimsical perplexity ; scanned me from head to foot ; looked 
down at the manuscript, then up again at me, then pointed to 
a chair ; and whistling softly to himself, went on writing his 
letter. 

I sat for some time waiting his reply, supposing he was mak- 
ing up his mind ; but he only paused occasionally to take a fresh 
dip of ink ; to stroke his chin or the tip of his nose, and then 
resumed his writing. It was evident his mind was intently oc- 
cupied upon some other subject; but I had no idea that any 
other subjects should be attended to and my poem lie unnoticed 
on the table. I had supposed that every thing would make way 
for the Pleasures of Melancholy. 

My gorge at length rose within me. I took up my manu- 
script ; thrust it into my pocket, and walked out of the room ; 
making some noise as I went, to let my departure be heard. 
The publisher, however, was too much busied in minor concerns 
to notice it. I was suffered to walk down-stairs without being 
called back. 1 sallied forth into the street, but no clerk was 
sent after me, nor did the publisher call after me from the draw- 
ing-room window. I have been told since, that he considered 
me either a madman or a fool. I leave you to judge how much 
he was in the wrong in his opinion. 

When I turned the corner my chest fell. I cooled down in 
my pride and my expectations, and reduced my terms with the 
next bookseller to whom I applied. I had no better success : 
nor with a third : nor with a fourth. I then desired the book- 
sellers to make an offer themselves ; but the deuce an offer would 
they make. They told me poetry was a mere drug ; everybodjr 
wrote poetry ; the market was overstocked with it. And then, 
they said, the title of my poem was not taking : that pleasures 
of all kinds were worn threadbare ; nothing but horrors did 



THE POOR DEVIL AUTHOR. 81 

now-a-days, and even these were almost worn 'out. Tales of 
pirates, robbers, and bloody Turks might answer tolerably well ; 
but then they must come from some established well-known name, 
or the public would not look at them. 

At last I offered to leave my poem with a bookseller to read 
it and judge for himself. " Why, really, my dear Mr. a 
a I forget your name," said he, cutting an eye at my rusty 
coat and shabby gaiters, u really, sir, we are so pressed with 
business just now, and have so many manuscripts on hand to 
read, that we have not time to look at any new production, but 
if you can call again in a week or two, or say the middle of the 
next month, we may be able to look over your writings and 
give you an answer. Don't forget, the mouth after next 
good morning, sir happy to see you any time you are passing 
this way" so saying he bowed me out in the ci vilest way 
imaginable. In short, sir, instead of an eager competition to 
secure my poem I could not even get it read ! In the mean 
time I was harassed by letters from my friends, wanting to 
know when the work was to appear ; who was to be my pub- 
lisher; but above all things warning me not to let it go too 
cheap. 

There was but one alternative left. I determined to publish 
the poem myself; and to have my triumph over the booksellers, 
when it should become the fashion of the day. I accordingly 
published the Pleasures of Melancholy and ruined myself. Ex- 
cepting the copies sent to the reviews, and to my friends in the 
country, not one, 1 believe, ever left the bookseller's warehouse. 
The printer's bill drained my purse, and the only notice that 
was taken of my work was contained in the advertisements paid 
for by myself. 

I could have borne all this, and have attributed it as usual to 
the mismanagement of the publisher, or the want of taste in the 
public : and could have made the usual appeal to posterity : but 
my village friends would not let me rest in quiet. They were 
picturing me to themselves feasting with the great, communing 
with the literary, and in the high course of fortune and renown. 
Every little while, some one came to me with a letter of intro- 
duction from the village circle, recommending him to my atten- 
tions, and requesting that I would make him known in society ; 
with a hint that an introduction to the house of a celebrated lit- 
erary nobleman would be extremely agreeable. 

I determined, therefore, to change my lodgings, drop my cor- 
respondence, and disappear altogether from the view of my vil- 
lage admirers. Besides, I was anxious to make one more poetic 



82 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

attempt. I was by po means disheartened by the failure of my 
first. My poem was evidently too didactic. The public was 
wise enough. It no longer read for instruction. " They want 
horrors, do they ? " said I. " F faith, then they shall have enough 
of them." So I looked out for some quiet retired place, where 
I might be out of reach of my friends, and have leisure to cook 
up some delectable dish of poetical " hell-broth." 
, I had some difficulty in finding a place to my mind, when 
chance threw me in the way of Cauonbury Castle. It is an an- 
cient brick tower, hard by " merry Islington ; " the remains of 
a hunting-seat of Queen Elizabeth, where she took the pleasures 
of the country, when the neighborhood was all woodland. 
What gave it particular interest in my eyes, was the circum- 
stance that it had been the residence of a poet. It was here 
Goldsmith resided when he wrote his Deserted Village. I was 
shown the very apartment. It was a relique of the original style 
of the castle, with panelled wainscots and gothic windows. I 
was pleased with its air of antiquity, and with its having been 
the residence of poor Goldy. 4fc Goldsmith was a pretty poet," 
said I to myself, " a very pretty poet; though rather of the old 
school. He did not think and feel so strongly as is the fashion 
now-a-days ; but had he lived in these times of hot hearts and 
hot heads, he would have written quite differently." 

In a few days I was quietly established in my new quarters ; 
my books all arranged, my writing desk placed by a window 
looking out into the field ; and 1 felt as snug as Robinson Cru- 
soe, when he had finished his bower. For several days I en- 
joyed all the novelty of change and the charms which grace a 
new lodgings before one has found out their defects. I ram- 
bled about the fields where I fancied Goldsmith had rambled. 
I explored merry Islington ; ate my solitary dinner at the Black 
Bull, which according to tradition was a country seat of Si>" 
Walter Raleigh, and would sit and sip my wine and muse on alt 
times in a quaint old room, where many a council had beei 
held. 

AH this did very well for a few days : I was stimulated by 
novelty ; inspired by the associations awakened in my mind by 
these curious haunts, and began to think I felt the spirit of com- 
position stirring within me ; but Sunday came, and with it the 
whole city world, swarming about Canoubury Castle. I could 
not open my window but I was stunned with shouts and noises 
from the cricket ground. The late quiet road beneath my win- 
dow was alive with the tread of feet and clack of tongues ; and 
to complete rny misery, I found that my quiet retreat was abao- 



THE POOR DEVIL AUTHOR. 

lutely a u show house ! " the tower and its contents being shown 
to strangers at sixpence a head. 

There was a perpetual tramping up-stairs of citizens and their 
families, to look about the country from the top of the tower, 
and to take a peep at the city through the telescope, to try if 
they could discern their own chimneys. And then, in the midst 
of a vein of thought, or a moment of inspiration, I was inter- 
rupted, and all my ideas put to flight, by my intolerable land- 
lady's tapping at the door, and asking me, if I would u jist 
please to let a lad} T and gentleman come in to take a look at Mr. 
Goldsmith's room." 

If you know any thing what an author's study is, and what an 
author is himself, you must know that there was no standing 
this. I put a positive interdict on my room's being exhibited ; 
but then it was shown when I was absent, and my papers put in 
confusion ; and on returning home one day, I absolutely found a 
cursed tradesman ami his daughters gaping over my manu- 
scripts ; and my landlady in a panic at my appearance. I tried 
to make out a little longer by taking the key in my pocket, but 
it would not do. I overheard mine hostess one day telling some 
of her customers on the stairs that the room was occupied by an 
author, who was always in a tantrum if interrupted ; and I im- 
mediately perceived, by a slight noise at the door, that they 
were peeping at me through the key-hole. By the head of 
Apollo, but this was quite too much ! with all my eagerness for 
fame, and my ambition of the stare of the million, I had no 
idea of being exhibited by retail, at sixpence a head, and that 
through a key-hole. So 1 bade adieu to Canonbury Castle, 
merry Islington, and the haunts of poor Goldsmith, without 
having advanced a single line in my labors. 

My next quarters were at a small white-washed cottage, 
which stands not far from Hempstead, just on the brow of a 
hill, looking over Chalk farm, and Camden town, remarkable 
for the rival houses of Mother Red Cap and Mother Black Cap ; 
and so across Crackskull common to the distant city. 

The cottage is in no wise remarkable in itself ; but I regarded 
it with reverence, for it had been the asylum of a persecuted 
author. Hither poor Steele had retreated and lain perdue when 
persecuted by creditors and bailiffs ; those immemorial plagues 
of authors and free-spirited gentlemen ; and here he had written 
many numbers of the Spectator. It was from hence, too, that 
he had despatched those little notes to his lady, so full of affec- 
tion and whimsicality ; in which the fond husband, the careless 
gentleman, aad the shifting spendthrift, were so oddly blended. 



84 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

I thought, as I first eyed the window of his apartment, that 1 
could sit within it and write volumes. 

No such thing ! It was haymaking season, and, as ill luck 
would have it, immediately opposite the cottage was a little ale- 
house with the sign of the load of hay. Whether it was there 
in Steele's time or not I cannot say ; but it set all attempt at 
conception or inspiration at defiance. It was the resort of all 
the Irish haymakers who mow the broad fields in the neighbor- 
hood ; and of drovers and teamsters who travel that road. 
Here would they gather in the endless summer twilight, or by 
the light of the harvest moon, and sit round a table at the door ; 
and tipple, and laugh, and quarrel, and fight, and sing drowsy 
songs, and dawdle away the hours until the deep solemn notes 
of St. Paul's clock would warn the varlets home. 

In the day-time I was still less able to write. It was broad 
summer. The haymakers were at work in the fields, and the 
perfume of the new-mown hay brought with it the recollection 
of my native fields. So instead of remaining in my room to 
write, I went wandering about Primrose Hill and Hompstead 
Heights and Shepherd's Field, and all those Arcadian scenes so 
celebrated by London bards. 1 cannot tell you how many deli- 
cious hours I have passed lying on the cocks of new-mown hay, 
on the pleasant slopes of some of those hills, inhaling the fra- 
grance of the fields, while the summer fly buzzed above rne, or 
the grasshopper leaped into my bosom ; and how I have gazed 
with half-shut eye upon the smoky mass of London, and lis- 
tened to the distant sound of its population, and pitied the poor 
sons of earth toiling in its bowels, like Gnomes in " the dark 
gold mine." 

People may say what they please about Cockney pastorals ; 
but after all, there is a vast deal of rural beauty about the 
western vicinity of London ; and any one that has looked down 
upon the valley of Western!, with its soft bosom of green pastur- 
age, lying open to the south, and dotted with cattle ; the steeple 
of Hempstead rising among rich groves on the brow of the hill, 
and the learned height of Harrow in the distance ; will confess 
that never has he seen a more absolutely rural landscape in the 
vicinity of a great metropolis. 

Still, however, I found myself not a whit the better off for my 
frequent change of lodgings ; and I began to discover that in 
literature, as in trade, the old proverb holds good, " a rolling 
stone gathers no moss." 

The tranquil beauty of the country played the very vengeance 
with me. I could not mount my fancy into the termagant vein. 



THE POOR DEVIL AUTHOR. 85 

I could not conceive, amidst the smiling landscape, a scene of 
blood and murder; and the smug citizens in breeches and 
gaiters, put all ideas of lie roes and bandits out of my brain. I 
could think of nothing but dulcet subjects. u The pleasures 
of spring" "the pleasures of solitude" "the pleasures 
of tranquillity " " the pleasures of sentiment " nothing but 
pleasures ; and I had the painful experience of 4 ; the pleasures 
of melancholy ' ' too strongly in my recollection to be beguiled 
by them. 

Chance at length befriended me. I had frequently in my 
ramblings loitered about Hempstead Hill ; which is a kind of 
Parnassus of the metropolis. At such times I occasionally 
took my dinner at Jack Straw's Castle. It is a country inn so 
named. The very spot where that notorious rebel and his fol- 
lowers held their council of war. It is a favorite resort of 
citizens when rurally inclined, as it commands fine fresh air and 
a good view of the city. 

I sat one day in the public room of this inn, ruminating over 
a beefsteak and a pint of port, when my imagination kindled 
up with ancient and heroic images. I had long wanted a theme 
and a hero ; both suddenly broke upon my mind ; I determined 
to write a poem on the history of Jack Straw. I was so full 
of my subject that I was fearful of being anticipated. I 
wondered that none of the poets of the day, in their researches 
after ruffian heroes, had ever thought of Jack Straw. I went 
to work pell-mell, blotted several sheets of paper with choice 
floating thoughts, and battles, and descriptions, to be ready at 
a moment's warning. In a few days' time I sketched out the 
skeleton of my poem, and nothing was wanting but to give it 
flesh and blood. I used to take my manuscript and stroll about 
Caen Wood, and read aloud ; and would dine at the castle, by 
way of keeping up the vein of thought. 

I was taking a meal there, one day, at a rather late hour, in 
the public room. There was no other company but one man, 
who sat enjoying his pint of port at a window, and noticing the 
passers-by. He was dressed in a green shooting-coat. His 
countenance was strongly marked. He had a hooked nose, a 
romantic eye, excepting that it had something of a squint ; and 
altogether, as I thought, a poetical style of head. I was quite 
taken with the man, for you must know I am a little of a physi- 
ognomist : I set him down at once for either a poet or a phi- 
losopher. 

As I like to make new acquaintances, considering every man 
a volume of human nature, I soon fell into conversation with 



TALES OW A TEA VELLEB. 

the stranger, who, I was pleased to find, was by no means dif- 
ficult of access. After I had dined, I joined him at the window, 
and we became so sociable that I proposed a bottle of wine to- 
gether ; to which he most cheerfully assented. 

I was too full of my poem to keep long quiet on the subject, 
and began to talk about the origin of the tavern, and the history 
of Jack Straw. I found my new acquaintance to be perfectly 
at home on the topic, and to jump exactly with my humor in 
every respect. I became elevated by the wine and the conversa- 
tion. In the fulness of an author's feelings, I told him of my 
projected poem, and repeated some passages ; and he was in 
raptures. He was evidently of a strong poetical turn. 

" Sir," said he, filling my glass at the same time, " our poets 
don't look at home. I don't see why we need go out of old 
England for robbers and rebels to write about. 1 like your Jack 
Straw, sir. He's a home-made hero. I like him, sir. 1 like him 
exceedingly. He's English to the back bone, damme. Give 
me honest old England, after all ; them's my sentiments, sir ! " 

"I honor your sentiments," cried I zealously. "They are 
exactly my own. An English ruffian for poetry is as good a 
ruffian for poetry as any in Italy or Germany, or the Archipel- 
ago ; but it is hard to make our poets think so." 

" More shame for them ! " replied the man in green. " What 
a plague would they have?" What have we to do with their 
Archipelagos of Italy and Germany? Haven't we heaths and 
commons arid highways on our own little island? Ay, and 
stout fellows to pad the hoof over them too? Come, sir, my 
service to you I agree with you perfectly." 

"Poets in old times had right notions on this subject," con- 
tinued I ; " witness the fine old ballads about Robin Hood, Allen 
A' Dale, and other stanch blades of yore." 

" Right, sir, right," interrupted he. " Robin Hood ! He was 
the lad to cry stand ! to a man, and never flinch." 

"Ah, sir," said I, " they had famous bands of robbers in the 
good old times. Those were glorious poetical days. The merry 
crew of Sherwood Forest, who led such a roving picturesque 
life, 4 under the greenwood tree.' I have often wished to visit 
their haunts, and tread the scenes of the exploits of Friar Tuck, 
and Clym of the Clough, and Sir William of Coudeslie." 

" Nay, sir," said the gentleman in green, " we have had sev- 
eral very pretty gangs since their day. Those gallant dogs that 
kept about the great heaths in the neighborhood of London ; 
about Bagshot, and Hounslow, and Black Heath, for instance 
come, sir, my service to you. You don't drink." 



TBS POOR DEVIL AUTHOR. 8T 

"I suppose," said I, emptying my glass "I suppose you 
have heard of the famous Turpin, who was born in this very 
village of Hempstead, and who used to lurk with his gang in 
Epping Forest, about a hundred years since/' 

"Havel?" cried he "to be sure I have! A hearty old 
blade that; sound as pitch. Old Turpentine! as we used to 
call him. A famous tine fellow, sir." 

44 Well, sir," continued I, "I have visited Waltham Abbey, 
and Chinkford Church, merely from the stories I heard, when 
a boy, of his exploits there, and I have searched Epping Forest 
for the cavern where he used to conceal himself. You must 
know," added I, " that I am a sort of amateur of highwaymen. 
They were dashing, daring fellows ; the last apologies that we 
had for the knight- errants of yore. Ah, sir! the country has 
been sinking gradually into tameness and commonplace. We 
are losing the old English spirit. The bold knights of the post 
have all dwindled down into lurking footpads and sneaking pick- 
pockets. There's no such thing as a dashing gentleman-like 
robbery committed now-a-days on the king's highway. A man 
may roll from one end of England to the other in a drowsy coach 
or jingling post-chaise without any other adventure than that 
of being occasionally overturned, sleeping in damp sheets, or 
having an ill-cooked dinner. 

" We hear no more of public coaches being stopped and 
robbed by a well-mounted gang of resolute fellows with pistols 
in their hands and crapes over their faces. What a pretty 
poetical incident was it for example in domestic life, for a 
family carriage, on its way to a country seat, to be attacked 
about dusk ; the old gentleman eased of his purse and watch, 
the ladies of their necklaces and ear-rings, by a politely-spoken 
highwayman on a blood mare, who afterwards leaped the hedge 
and galloped across the country, to the admiration of Miss 
Carolina the daughter, who would write a long and romantic 
account of the adventure to her friend Miss Juliana in town. 
Ah, sir! we meet with nothing of such incidents now-a-days." 

"That, sir," said my companion, taking advantage of a 
pause, when I stopped to recover breath and to take a glass of 
wine, which he had just poured out " that, sir, craving your 
pardon, is not owing to any want of old English pluck. It is 
the effect of this cursed system of banking. People do not 
travel with bags of gold as they did formerly. They have 
post notes and drafts on bankers. To rob a coach is like 
catching a crow ; where you have nothing but carrion flesh and 
feathers for your paius* But a coach in old times, sir, was 



TALES OF A TRA VELLER. 

as rich as a Spanish galleon. It turned out the yellow boys 
bravely ; and a private carriage was a cool hundred or two at 
least." 

I cannot express how much I was delighted with the sallies 
of my new acquaintance. He told me that he often frequented 
the castle, and would be glad to know more of me ; and I 
promised myself many a pleasant afternoon with him, when I 
should read him my poem, as it proceeded, and benefit by his 
remarks ; for it was evident he had the true poetical feeling. 

44 Come, sir ! " said he, pushing the bottle, " Damme, I like 
you ! You're a man after my own heart ; I'm cursed slow in 
making new acquaintances in general. One must stand on the 
reserve, you know. But when I meet with a man of your 
kidney, damme my heart jumps at once to him. Them's my 
sentiments, sir. Come, sir, here's Jack Straw's health. I pre- 
sume one can drink it now-a-days without treason ! ' J 

44 With all my heart," said I gayly, 44 and Dick Turpin's into 
the bargain ! " 

"Ah, sir," said the man in green, "those are the kind of 
men for poetry. The Newgate kalendar, sir ! the Newgate kal- 
endar is your only reading ! There's the place to look for bold 
deeds and dashing fellows." 

We were so much pleased with each other that we sat until 
a late hour. I insisted on paying the bill, for both my purse 
and my heart were full ; and I agreed that he should pay the 
score at our next meeting. As the coaches had all gone that 
run between Hempstcad and London he had to return on foot. 
He was so delighted with the idea of my poem that he could 
talk of nothing else. He made me repeat such passages as I 
could remember, and though I did it in a very mangled manner, 
having a wretched memory, yet he was in raptures. 

Every now and then he would break out with some scrap 
which he would misquote most terribly, but would rub his 
hands and exclaim, " By Jupiter, that's fine! that's noble! 
Damme, sir, if I can conceive how you hit upon such ideas ! " 

I must confess 1 did not always relish his misquotations, 
which sometimes made absolute nonsense of the passages ; but 
what author stands upon trifles when he is praised ? Never had 
I spent a more delightful evening. I did not perceive how the 
time flew. I could not bear to separate, but continued walking 
on, arm in arm with him past my lodgings, through Camden 
town, and across Crackskull Common, talking the whole way 
about my poem. 

When we were half-way across the common he interrupted 



THE POOR DEVJL AUTHOR. 89 

me in the midst of a quotation by telling me that this had been 
a famous place for footpads, and was still occasionally infested 
by them ; and that a man had recently been shot there in 
attempting to defend himself. 

" The more fool he ! " cried I. u A man is an idiot to risk 
life, or even limb, to save a paltry purse of money. It's quite 
a different case from that of a duel, where one's honor is con- 
cerned. For my part," added I, "I should never think of 
making resistance against one of those desperadoes." 

" Say you so? " cried my friend in green, turning suddenly 
upon me, and putting a pistol to my breast, " Why, then have 
at you, my lad ! come, disburse ! empty ! unsack ! " 

In a word. I found that the muse had played me another of 
her tricks, and had betrayed me into the hands of a footpad. 
There was no time to parley ; he made me turn my pockets 
inside out ; and hearing the sound of distant footsteps, he made 
one fell swoop upon purse, watch, and all, gave me a thwack 
over my unlucky pate that laid me sprawling on the ground ; 
and scampered away with his booty. 

I saw no more of my friend in green until a year or two 
afterwards ; when I caught a sight of his poetical countenance 
among a crew of scapegraces, heavily ironed, who were on the 
way for transportation. He recognized me at once, tipped me 
an impudent wink, and asked me how I came on with the his- 
tory of Jack Straw's castle. 

The catastrophe at Crackskull Common put an end to my 
summer's campaign. I was cured of my poetical enthusiasm 
for rebels, robbers, and highwaymen. I was put out of conceit 
of my subject, and what was worse, I was lightened of my 
purse, in which was almost every farthing I had in the world. 
So I abandoned Sir Richard Steele's cottage in despair, and 
crept into less celebrated, though no less poetical and airy 
lodgings in a garret in town. 

1 see you are growing weary, so I will not detain you with 
any more of my luckless attempts to get astride of Pegasus. 
Still I could not consent to give up the trial and abandon those 
dreams of renown in which I had indulged. How should I 
ever be able to look the literary circle of my native village in 
the face, if I were so completely to falsify their predictions. 
For some time longer, therefore, I continued to write for fame, 
and of course was the most miserable dog in existence, besides 
being in continual risk of starvation. 

I have many a time strolled sorrowfully along, with a sad 
heart and an empty stomach, about five o'clock, and looked 



TALES OF A TEA VELLEH. 

wistfully down the areas in tbe west end of the town ; ancTseen 
through the kitchen windows the fires gleaming, and the joints 
of meat turning on the spits and dripping with gravy ; and the 
cookmaids beating up puddings, or trussing turkeys, and have 
felt for the moment that if I could but have the run of one of 
those kitchens, Apollo and the muses might have the hungry 
heights of Parnassus for me. Oh, sir! talk of meditations 
among the tombs they are nothing so melancholy as the medi- 
tations of a poor devil without penny in pouch, along a line of 
kitchen windows towards dinner-time. 

At length, when almost reduced to famine and despair, the 
idea all at once entered my head, that perhaps J was not so 
clever a fellow as the village and myself had supposed. It was 
the salvation of me. The moment the idea popped into my 
brain, it brought conviction and comfort with it. I awoke as 
from a dream. I gave up immortal fame to those who could 
live on air ; took to writing for mere bread, and have ever since 
led a very tolerable life of it. There is no man of letters so 
much at his ease, sir, as he that has no character to gain or 
lose. I had to train myself to it a little, however, and to clip 
my wings short at first, or they would have carried me up into 
poetry in spite of myself. So I determined to begin by the 
opposite extreme, and abandoning the higher regions of the 
craft, I came plump down to the lowest, and turned creeper. 

44 Creeper, ' ' interrupted I, " and pray what is that ? ' ' Oh, sir ! 
I see you are ignorant of the language of the craft ; a creeper 
is one who furnishes the newspapers with paragraphs at so 
much a line, one that goes about in quest of misfortunes ; 
attends the Bow-street office ; the courts of justice and every 
other den of mischief and iniquity. We are paid at the rate of 
a penny a line, and as we can sell the same paragraph to almost 
every paper, we sometimes pick up a very decent day's work. 
Now and then the muse is unkind, or the day uncommonly 
quiet, and then we rather starve ; and sometimes the uncon- 
scionable editors will clip our paragraphs when they are a little 
too rhetorical, and snip off twopence or threepence at a go. I 
have many a time had my pot of porter snipped off of my din- 
ner in this way ; and have had to dine with dry lips. However, 
I cannot complain. I rose gradually in the lower ranks of the 
craft, and am now, I think, in the most comfortable region of 
literature. 

44 And pray," said I, 44 what may you be at present? " 

" At present," said he, 44 1 am a regular job writer, and tuni 
my hand to any thing. I work up the writings of others at so 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 91 

much a sheet ; turn off translations ; write second-rate articles 
to fill up reviews and magazines ; compile travels and voyages, 
and furnish theatrical criticisms for the newspapers. All this 
authorship, you perceive, is anonymous ; it gives no reputation, 
except among the trade, where I am considered an author of 
all work, and am always sure of employ. That's the only 
reputation I want. I sleep soundly, without dread of duns or 
critics, and leave immortal fame to those that choose to fret 
and fight about it. Take my word for it, the only happy author 
in this world is he who is below the care of reputation. " 



The preceding anecdotes of Buckthorne's early schoolmate, 
and a variety of peculiarities which I had remarked in him- 
self, gave me a strong curiosity to know something of his own 
history. There was a dash of careless good humor about him 
that pleased me exceedingly, and at times a whimsical tinge 
of melancholy ran through his humor that gave it an addi- 
tional relish. He had evidently been a little chilled and buf- 
feted by fortune, without being soured thereby, as some fruits 
become mellower and sweeter, from having been bruised or 
frost-bitten. He smiled when I expressed my desire. u I have 
no great story, " said he, u to relate. A mere tissue of errors 
and follies. But, such as it is, you shall have one epoch of 
it, by which you may judge of the rest." And so, without 
any farther prelude, he gave me the following anecdotes of 
his early adventures. 



BUCKTHORNE, OR THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT 

EXPECTATIONS. 

I WAS born to very little property, but to great expectations ; 
which is perhaps one of the most unlucky fortunes that a man 
can be born to. My father was a country gentleman, the last 
of a very ancient and honorable, but decayed family, and re- 
sided in an old hunting lodge in Warwickshire. He was a keen 
sportsman and lived to the extent of his moderate income, so 
that I had little to expect from that quarter ; but then I had a 
rich uncle by the mother's side, a penurious, accumulating cur- 
mudgeon, who it was confidently expected would make me his 
heir; because he was an old bachelor; because I was named 
after him, and because he hated all the world except myself. 



92 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

He was, in fact, an inveterate hater, a miser even in misan- 
thropj 7 , and hoarded up a grudge as he did a guinea. Thus, 
though my mother was an only sister, he had never forgiven her 
marriage with my father, against whom he had a cold, still, im- 
movable pique, which had lain at the bottom of his heart, like a 
stone in a well, ever since they had been school-boys together. 
My mother, however, considered me as the intermediate being 
that was to bring every thing again into harmony, for she looked 
upon me as a prodigy God bless her. My heart overflows 
whenever I recall her tenderness : she was the most excellent, 
the most indulgent of mothers. I was her only child ; it was a 
pity she had no more, for she had fondness of heart enough to 
have spoiled a dozen ! 

I was sent, at an early age, to a public school, sorely against 
my mother's wishes, but my father insisted that it was the only 
way to make boys hardy. The school was kept by a conscien- 
tious prig of the ancient system, who did his duty by the boys 
intrusted to his care ; that is to say, we were flogged soundly 
when we did not get our lessons. We were put into classes and 
thus flogged on in droves along the highways of knowledge, in 
the same manner as cattle are driven to market, where those 
that are heavy in gait or short in leg have to suffer for the su- 
perior alertness or longer limbs of their companions. 

For my part, I confess it with shame, I was an incorrigible 
laggard. I have always had the poetical feeling, that is to say, 
I have always been an idle fellow and prone to play the vaga- 
bond. 1 used to get away from my books and school whenever 
I could, and ramble about the fields. I was surrounded by se- 
ductions for such a temperament. The school-house was an old- 
fashioned, white- washed mansion of wood and plaster, stand- 
ing on the skirts of a beautiful village. Close by it was the 
venerable church with a tall Gothic spire. Before it spread a 
lovely green valley, with a little stream glistening along through 
willow groves ; while a line of blue hills that bounded the land- 
scape gave rise to many a summer day dream as to the fairy 
land that lay beyond. 

In spite of all the scourgings I suffered at that school to make 
me love my book, I cannot but look back upon the place with 
fondness. Indeed, I considered this frequent flagellation as the 
common lot of humanity, and the regular mode in which scholars 
were made. My kind mother used to lament over my details of 
the sore trials I underwent in the cause of learning ; but my 
father turned a deaf ear to her expostulations. He had been 
flogged through school himself, and swore there was no other 



THE YOU NO MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 93 

way of making a man of parts ; though, let me speak it with all 
due reverence, my father was but an indifferent illustration of 
his own theory, for he was considered a grievous blockhead. 

My poetical temperament evinced itself at a very early period. 
The village church was attended every Sunday by a neighboring 
squire the lord of the manor, whose park stretched quite to 
the village, and whose spacious country seat seemed to take the 
church under its protection. Indeed, you would have thought 
the church had been consecrated to him instead of to the Deity. 
The parish clerk bowed low before him, and the vergers hum- 
bled themselves into the dust in his presence. He always en- 
tered a little late and with some stir, striking his cane emphati- 
cally on the ground ; swaying his hat in his hand, and looking 
loftily to the right and left, as he walked slowly up the aisle, 
and the parson, who always ate his Sunday dinner with him, 
never commenced service until he appeared. He sat with his 
family in a large pew gorgeously lined, humbling himself devoutly 
on velvet cushions, and reading lessons of meekness and lowli- 
ness of spirit out of splendid gold and morocco prayer-books. 
Whenever the parson spoke of the difficulty of the rich man's 
entering the kingdom of heaven, the eyes of the congregation 
would turn towards the "grand pew," and 1 thought the squire 
seemed pleased with the application. 

The pomp of this pew and the aristocratical air of the family 
struck my imagination wonderfully, and I fell desperately in 
love with a little daughter of the squire's about twelve years 
of age. This freak of fancy made me more truant from my 
studies than ever. I used to stroll about the squire's park, 
and would lurk near the house to catch glimpses of this little 
damsel at the windows, or playing about the lawns, or walking 
out with her governess. 

I had not enterprise or impudence enough to venture from 
my concealment ; indeed, I felt like an arrant poacher, until 
I read one or two of Ovid's Metamorphoses, when I pictured 
myself as some sylvan deity, and she a coy wood nymph of 
whom I was in pursuit. There is something extremely delicious 
in these early awakenings of the tender passion. I can feel, 
even at this moment, the thrilling of my boyish bosom, when- 
ever by chance I caught a glimpse of her white frock fluttering 
among the shrubbery,- I now began to read poetry. I carried 
about in my bosom a volume of Waller, which I had purloined 
from my mother's library ; and I applied to my little fair one 
all the compliments lavished upon Sacharissa. 

At length I danced with her at a school ball. I was so 



94 TALES OF A TRAVELLED. 

awkward a booby, that I dared scarcely speak to her ; I was 
filled with awe and embarrassment in her presence ; but I was 
so inspired that my poetical temperament for the first time 
broke out in verse ; and I fabricated some glowing lines, in 
which I be-rhymed the little lady under the favorite name of 
Sacharissa. I slipped the verses, trembling and blushing, into 
her hand the next Sunday as she came out of church. The 
little prude handed them to her mamma ; the mamma handed 
them to the squire ; the squire, who had no soul for poetry, 
sent them in dudgeon to the schoolmaster; and the school- 
master, with a barbarity worthy of the dark ages, gave me a 
sound and peculiarly humiliating flogging for thus trespassing 
upon Parnassus. 

This was a sad outset for a votary of the muse. It ought to 
have cured me of my passion for poetry ; but it only confirmed 
it, for I felt the spirit of a martyr rising within me. What was 
as well, perhaps, it cured me of my passion for the young lady ; 
for 1 felt so indignant at the ignominious horsing I had incurred 
in celebrating her charms, that I could not hold up my head in 
church. 

Fortunately for my wounded sensibility, the midsummer holi- 
days came on, and I returned home. My mother, as usual, 
inquired into all my school concerns, my little pleasures, and 
cares, and sorrows ; for boyhood has its share of the one as 
well as of the others. I told her all, and she was indignant at 
the treatment I had experienced. She fired up at the arrogance 
of the squire, and the prudery of the daughter ; and as- to the 
schoolmaster, she wondered where was the use of having 
schoolmasters, and why boys could not remain at home and be 
educated by tutors, under the eye of their mothers. She asked 
to see the verses I had written, and she was delighted with 
them ; for to confess the truth, she had a pretty taste in poetry. 
She even showed them to the parson's wife, who protested they 
were charming, and the parson's three daughters insisted on 
each having a copy of them. 

All this was exceedingly balsamic, and I was still more con- 
soled and encouraged, when the young ladies, who were the 
blue-stockings of the neighborhood, and had read Dr. Johnson's 
lives quite through, assured my mother that great geniuses 
never studied, but were always idle ; upon which I began to 
surmise that I was myself something out of the common run. 
My father, however, was of a very different opinion, for when 
my mother, in the pride of her heart, showed him my copy of 
verses, he threw them out of the window, asking her "if she 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 95 

meant to make a ballad monger of the boy." But he was a 
careless^ common-thinking man, and I cannot say that I ever 
loved him much ; my mother absorbed all my filial affection. 

I used occasionally, during holidays, to be sent on short 
visits to the uncle, who was to make me his heir ; they thought 
it would keep me in his mind, and render him fond of me. He 
was a withered, anxious-looking old fellow, and lived in a deso- 
late old country seat, which he suffered to go to ruin from 
absolute niggardliness. He kept but one man-servant, who 
had lived, or rather starved, with him for years. No woman 
was allowed to sleep in the house. A daughter of the old 
servant lived by the gate, in what had been a porter's lodge, 
and was permitted to come into the house about an hour each 
day, to make the beds, and cook a morsel of provisions. 

The park that surrounded the house was ail run wild ; the 
trees grown out of shape ; the fish-ponds stagnant ; the urns and 
statues fallen from their pedestals and buried among the rank 
grass. The hares and pheasants were so little molested, except by 
poachers, that they bred in great abundance, and sported about 
the rough lawns and weedy avenues. To guard the premises 
and frighten off robbers, of whom he was somewhat apprehen- 
sive, and visitors, whom he held in almost equal awe, my uncle 
kept two or three blood- hounds, who were always prowling round 
the house, and were the dread of the neighboring peasantry. 
They were gaunt and half-starved, seemed ready to devour one 
from mere hunger, and were an effectual check on any stranger's 
approach to this wizard castle. 

8uch was my uncle's house, which I used to visit now and then 
during the holidays. I was, as I have before said, the old man's 
favorite ; that is to say, he did not hate me so much as he did the 
rest of the world. I had been apprised of his character, and cau- 
tioned to cultivate his good-will ; but I was too young and care- 
less to be a courtier ; and indeed have never been sufficiently 
studious of my interests to let them govern my feelings. How- 
ever, we seemed to jog on very well together ; and as my visits 
cost him almost nothing, they did not seem to be very unwel- 
come. I brought with me my gun and fishing-rod, and half sup- 
plied the table from the park and the fish-ponds. 

Our meals were solitary and unsocial. My uncle rarely spoke ; 
he pointed for whatever he wanted, and the servant perfectly 
understood him. Indeed, his man John, or Iron John, as he was 
called in the neighborhood, was a counterpart of his master. 
He was a tall, bony old fellow, with a dry wig that seemed made 
of cow's tail, and a face as tough as though it had been made of 



96 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

bull's hide. He was generally clad in a long, patched livery coat, 
taken out of the wardrobe of the house ; and which bagged 
loosely about him, having evidently belonged to some corpulent 
predecessor, in the more plenteous days of the mansion. From 
long habits of taciturnity, the hinges of his jaws seemed to have 
grown absolutely rusty, and it cost him as much effort to set 
them ajar, and to let out a tolerable sentence, as it would have 
done to set open the iron gates of a park, and let out the family 
carriage that was dropping to pieces in the coach-house. 

I cannot say, however, but that I was for some time amused 
with my uncle's peculiarities. Even the very desolateness of the 
establishment had something in it that hit my fancy. When the 
weather was fine I used to amuse myself, in a solitary way, by 
rambling about the park, and coursing like a colt across its lawns. 
The hares and pheasants seemed to stare with surprise, to see 
a human being walking these forbidden grounds by daylight. 
Sometimes 1 amused myself by jerking stones, or shooting at 
birds with a bow and arrows ; for to have used a gun would have 
been treason. Now and then my path was crossed by a little red- 
headed, ragged- tailed urchin, the son of the woman at the lodge, 
who ran wild about the premises. 1 tried to draw him into 
familiarity, and to make a companion of him ; but he seemed 
to have imbibed the strange, unsocial character of every thing 
around him ; and always kept aloof ; so I considered him as 
another Orson, and amused myself with shooting at him with 
my bow and arrows, and he would hold up his breeches with one 
hand, and scamper away like a deer. 

There was something in all this loneliness and wildness 
strangely pleasing to me. The great stables, empty and weather- 
broken, with the names of favorite horses over the vacant stalls ; 
the windows bricked and boarded up ; the broken roofs, garri- 
soned by rooks and jackdaws ; all had a singularly forlorn ap- 
pearance : one would have concluded the house to be totally 
uninhabited, were it not for a little thread of blue smoke, which 
now and then curled up like a corkscrew, from the centre of one 
of the wide chimneys, when my uncle's starveling meal was 
cooking. 

My uncle's room was in a remote corner of the building, 
strongly secured and generally locked. I was never admitted 
into this stronghold, where the old man would remain for the 
greater part of the time, drawn up like a veteran spider in the 
citadel of his web. The rest of the mansion, however, was open 
to me, and I sauntered al>out it unconstrained. The damp and 
rain which beat iu through the broken windows, crumbled the 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GEE AT EXPECTATIONS. 97 

paper from the walls ; mouldered the pictures, and gradually 
destroyed the furniture. I loved to rove about the wide, waste 
chambers in bad weather, and listen to the howling of the wind, 
and the banging about of the doors and window-shutters. I pleased 
myself with the idea how completely, when I came to the es- 
tate, I would renovate all things, and make the old building ring 
with merriment, till it was astonished at its own jocundity. 

The chamber which I occupied on these visits was the same 
that had been my mother's, when a girl. There was still the 
toilet-table of her own adorning ; the landscapes of her own 
drawing. She had never seen it since her marriage, but would 
often ask me if every thing was still the same. All was just 
the same ; for I loved that chamber on her account., and had 
taken pains to put every thing in order, and to mend all the 
flaws in the windows with my own hands. I anticipated the 
time when I should once more welcome her to the ho 1 ise of her 
fathers, and restore her to this little nestling-place of her child- 
hood. 

At length my evil genius, or, what perhaps is the same thing, 
the muse, inspired me with the notion of rhyming again. My 
uncle, who never went to church, used on Sundays to read chap- 
ters out of the Bible : and Iron John, the woman from the lodge, 
and myself, wwe his congregation. It seemed to be all one 
to him what he read, so long as it was something from the 
Bible : sometimes, therefore, it would be the Song of Solomon ; 
and this withered anatomy would read about being " stayed with 
flagons and comforted with apples, for he was sick of love.'* 
Sometimes he would hobble, with spectacle on nose, through 
whole chapters of hard Hebrew names in Deuteronomy ; at which 
the poor woman would sigh and groan as if wonderfully moved. 
His favorite book, however, wus "The Pilgrim's Progress;" 
and when he came to that part which treats of Doubting Castle 
and Giant Despair, I thought invariably of him and his desolate 
old country seat. So much did the idea amuse me, that I took 
to scribbling about it under the trees in the park ; and in a few 
days had made some progress in a poem, in which I had given a 
description of the place, under the name of Doubting Castle, 
and personified my uncle as Giant Despair. 

I lost my poem somewhere about the house, and I soon sus- 
pected that my uncle had found it : as he harshly intimated to 
me that I could return home, and that I need not come and see 
him again until he should send for me. 

Just about this time my mother died. I cannot dwell upon 
this circumstance ; my heart, careless and wayworn as it is, 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

gushes with the recollection. Her death was an event that per- 
haps gave a turn to all my after fortunes. With her died all 
that made home attractive, for my father was harsh, as 1 have 
before said, and had never treated me with kindness. Not that 
he Exerted any unusual severity towards me, but it was his way. 
I do not complain of him. In fact, I have never been of a 
complaining disposition. I seem born to be buffeted by friends 
and fortune, and nature has made me a careless eudurer of 
buffetings. 

I now, however, began to grow very impatient of remaining 
at school, to be flogged for things that I did not like. I longed 
for variety, especially now that I had not my uncle 's to resort 
to, by way of diversifying the dulness of school with the dreari- 
ness of his country seat. I was now turned of sixteen ; tall for 
my age, and full of idle fancies. I had a roving, inextinguish- 
able desire to see different kinds of life, and different orders of 
society ; and this vagrant humor had been fostered in me by 
Tom Dribble, the prime wag and great genius of the school, 
who had all the rambling propensities of a poet. 

I used to sit at my desk in the school, on a fine summer's day, 
and instead of Studying the book which lay open before me, 
my eye was gazing through the window on the green fields and 
blue hills. How 1 envied the happy groups seated 011 the tops 
of stage-coaches, chatting, and joking, and laughing, as they 
were whirled by the school-house, on their way to the metropolis. 
Even the wagoners trudging along beside their ponderous teams, 
and traversing the kingdom, from one end to the other, were 
objects of envy to me. I fancied to myself what adventures 
they must experience, and what odd scenes of life they must 
witness. All this was doubtless the poetical temperament work- 
ing within me, and tempting me forth into a world of its own 
creation, which I mistook for the world of real life. 

While my mother lived, this strange propensity to roam was 
counteracted by the stronger attractions of home, and by the 
powerful ties of affection, which drew me to her side ; but now 
that she was gone, the attractions had ceased ; the ties were 
severed. I had no longer an anchorage ground for my heart; 
but was at the mercy of every vagrant impulse. Nothing but 
the narrow allowance on which my father kept me, and the con- 
sequent penury of my purse, prevented me from mounting the 
top of a stage-coach and launching myself adrift on the great 
ocean of life. 

Just about this time the village was agitated for a day or 
two, by the passing through of several caravans, containing 



TEE YOUNG MAN OF GEE AT EXPECTATIONS. 99 

wild beasts, and other spectacles for a great fair annually held 
at a neighboring town. 

I had never seen a fair of any consequence, and my curiosity 
was powerfully awakened by this bustle of preparation. I 
gazed with respect and wonder at the vagrant personages who 
accompanied these caravans. I loitered about the village inn, 
listening with curiosity and delight to the slang talk and cant 
jokes of the showmen and their followers ; and I felt an eager 
desire to witness this fair, which my fancy decked out as some- 
thing wonderfully fine. 

A holiday afternoon presented, when I could be absent from 
the school from noon until evening. A wagon was going from 
the village to the fair. I could not resist the temptation, nor the 
eloquence of Tom Dribble, who was a truant to the very heart's 
core. We hired seats, and set off full of boyish expectation. I 
promised myself that I would but take a peep at the land of prom- 
ise, and hasten back again before my absence should be noticed. 

Heavens ! how happy I was on arriving at the fair ! How I 
was enchanted with the world of fun and pageantry around me ! 
The humors of Punch ; the feats of the equestrians ; the magi- 
cal tricks of the conjurers ! But what principally caught my 
attention was an itinerant theatre ; where a tragedy, panto- 
mime, and farce were all acted in the course of half an hour, 
and more of the dramatis porsonae murdered, than at either 
Drury Lane or Co vent Garden in a whole evening. I have 
since seen many a play performed by the best actors in the 
world, but never have 1 derived half the delight from any that I 
did from this first representation. 

There was a ferocious tyrant in a skull cap like an inverted 
porringer, and a dress of red baize, magnificently embroidered 
with gilt leather ; with his face so be-whiskered and his eye- 
brows so knit and expanded with burnt cork, that he made my 
heart quake within me as he stamped about the little stage. I 
was enraptured too with the surpassing beauty of a distressed 
damsel, in faded pink silk, and dirty white muslin, whom he 
held in cruel captivity by way of gaining her affections ; and 
who wept and wrung her hands and flourished a ragged pocket 
handkerchief from the top of an impregnable tower, of the size 
of a band-box. 

Even after I had come out from the play, I could not tear my- 
self from the vicinity of the theatre ; but lingered, gazing, and 
wondering, and laughing at the dramatis personae, as they per- 
formed their antics, or danced upon a stage in front of the 
booth, to decoy a new set of spectators. 



100 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

I was so bewildered by the scene, and so lost in the crowd of 
sensations that kept swarming upon rne, that I was like one 
entranced. J lost niy companion Tom Dribble, in a tumult and 
scuffle that took place near one of the shows, but 1 was too 
much occupied in mind to think long about him. I strolled 
about until dark, when the fair was lighted up, and a new scene 
of magic opened upon me. The illumination of the tents and 
booths ; the brilliant effect of the stages decorated with lamps, 
with dramatic groups flaunting about them in gaudy dresses, 
contrasted splendidly with the surrounding darkness ; while the 
uproar of drums, trumpets, fiddles, hautboys, and cymbals, 
mingled witli the harangues of the showmen, the squeaking of 
Punch, and the shouts and laughter of the crowd, ail united to 
complete my giddy distraction. 

Time flew without my perceiving it. When I came to myself 
and thought of the school, I hastened to return. I inquired for 
the wagon in which I had come : it had been gone for hours. I 
asked the time : it was almost midnight ! A sudden quaking 
seized rne. How was I to get back to school ? I was too weary 
to make the journey on foot, and I knew not where to apply for 
a conveyance. Even if J should find one, could I venture to 
disturb the school-house long after midnight? to arouse that 
sleeping lion, the usher, in the very midst of his night's rest? 
The idea was too dreadful for a delinquent schoolboy. All the 
horrors of return rushed upon me my absence must long 
before this have been remarked and absent for a whole night? 
a deed of darkness not easily to be expiated. The rod of the 
pedagogue budded forth into tenfold terrors before my affrighted 
fancy. I pictured to myself punishment and humiliation in 
eveiy variety of form ; and my heart sickened at the picture. 
Alas ! how often are the petty ills of boyhood as painful to our 
tender natures, as are the sterner evils of manhood to our 
robuster minds. 

I wandered about among the booths, and I might have de- 
rived a lesson from my actual feelings, how much the charms of 
this world depend upon ourselves ; for 1 no longer saw any thing 
gay or delightful in the revelry around me. At length I lay 
down, weaned and perplexed, behind one of the large tents, and 
covering myself with the margin of the tent cloth to keep off 
the night chill, I soon fell fast asleep. 

I had not slept long, when I was awakened by the noise of 
merriment within an adjoining booth. It was the itinerant 
theatre, rudely constructed of boards and canvas. I peeped 
through an aperture, and saw the whole dramatis personae, 



TUB YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 101 

tragedy, comedy, pantomime, all refreshing themselves after 
the final dismissal of their auditors. They were merry and 
gamesome, and made their flimsy theatre ring with laughter. I 
was astonished to see the tragedy tyrant in red baize and fierce 
whiskers, who had made my heart quake as he strutted about 
the boards, now transformed into a fat, good-humored fellow ; 
the beaming porringer laid aside from his brow, and his jolly 
face washed from all the terrors of burnt cork. I was delighted, 
too, to see the distressed damsel in faded silk and dirty muslin, 
who had trembled under his tyranny, and afflicted me so much 
by her sorrows, now seated familiarly on his knee, and quaff- 
ing from the same tankard. Harlequin lay asleep on one of 
the benches ; and monks, satyrs, and vestal virgins were 
grouped together, laughing outrageously at a broad story told 
by an unhappy count, who had been barbarously murdered in 
the tragedy. This was, indeed, novelty to me. It was a peep 
into another planet. I gazed and listened with intense curiosity 
and enjoyment. They had a thousand odd stories and jokes 
about the events of the day, and burlesque descriptions and 
mimickings of the spectators who had been admiring them. 
Their conversation was full of allusions to their adventures at 
different places, where they had exhibited ; the characters they 
had met with in different villages ; and the ludicrous difficulties 
in which they had occasionally been involved. All past cares 
and troubles were now turned by these thoughtless beings into 
matter of merriment ; and made to contribute to the gayety of 
the moment. They had been moving from fair to fair about 
the kingdom, and were the next morning to set out on their 
way to London. 

My resolution was taken. I crept from my nest, and scram- 
bled through a hedge into a neighboring field, where I went to 
work to make a tatterdemalion of myself. I tore my clothes ; 
soiled them with dirt ; begrimed my face and hands ; and, crawl- 
ing near one of the booths, purloined an old hat, and left my 
new one in its place. It was an honest theft, and I hope may 
not hereafter rise up in judgment against me. 

I now ventured to the scene of merrymaking, and, present- 
ing myself before the dramatic corps, offered myself as a vol- 
unteer. I felt terribly agitated and abashed, for " never before 
stood I in such a presence." I had addressed myself to the 
manager of the company. He was a fat man, dressed in 
dirty white ; with a red sash fringed with tinsel, swathed round 
his body. His face was smeared with paint, and a majestic 
plume towered from an old spangled black bonnet. He was the 



102 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

Jupiter ton an s of this Olympus, and was surrounded by the in- 
ferior gods and goddesses of his court. He sat on the end of a 
bench, by a table, with one arm akimbo and the other extended 
to the handle of a tankard, which he had slowly set down from 
his lips as he surveyed me from head to foot. It was a moment 
of awful scrutiny, and I fancied the groups around all watching 
us in silent suspense, and waiting for the imperial nod. 

He questioned me as to who 1 was ; what were my qualifica- 
tions ; and what terms I expected. I passed myself off for a 
discharged servant from a gentleman's family ; and as, happily, 
one does not require a special recommendation to get admitted 
into bad company, the questions on that head were easily satis- 
fied. As to my accomplishments, I would spout a little poetry, 
and knew several scenes of plays, which I had learnt at school 
exhibitions. I could dance , that was enough ; no fur- 
ther questions were asked me as to accomplishments ; it was 
the very thing they wanted ; and, as I asked no wages, but 
merely meat and drink, and safe conduct about the world, a 
bargain was struck in a moment. 

Behold me, therefore, transformed of a sudden from a gentle- 
man student to a dancing buffoon ; for such, in fact, was the 
character in which I made my debut. I was one of those who 
formed the groups in the dramas, and were principally em- 
ployed on the stage in front of the booth, to attract company. 
I was equipped as a satyr, in a dress of drab frieze that fitted to 
my shape ; with a great laughing mask, ornamented with huge 
ears and short horns. I was pleased with the disguise, because 
it kept me from the danger of being discovered, whilst we were 
in that part of the country ; and, as I had merely to dance and 
make antics, the character was favorable to a debutant, being 
almost on a par with Simon Snug's part of the Lion, which re- 
quired nothing but roaring. 

I cannot tell you how happy I was at this sudden change in 
my situation. I felt no degradation, for I had seen too little of 
society to be thoughtful about the differences of rank ; and a 
boy of sixteen is seldom aristocrat! cal. I had given up no 
friend ; for there seemed to be no one in the world that cared 
for me, now my poor mother was dead. I had given up no 
pleasure ; for my pleasure was to ramble about and indulge the 
flow of a poetical imagination ; and I now enjoyed it in perfec- 
tion. There is no life so truly poetical as that of a dancing 
buffoon. 

It may be said that all this argued grovelling inclinations. I 
do not think so ; not that I mean to vindicate myself in any 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 103 



great degree ; I know too well what a whimsical compound I am. 
But in this instance I was seduced by no love of low company, 
nor disposition to indulge in low vices. I have always despised 
the brutally vulgar ; and I have always had a disgust at vice, 
whether in high or low life. I was governed merely by a sudden 
and thoughtless impulse. I had no idea of resorting to this pro- 
fession as a mode of life ; or of attaching myself to these people, 
as my future class of society. 1 thought merely of a temporary 
gratification of my curiosity, and an indulgence of my humors. 
I had already a strong relish for the peculiarities of character 
and the varieties of situation, and I have always been fond of 
the comedy of life, and desirous of seeing it through all its shift- 



ing scenes. 



In mingling, therefore, among mountebanks and buffoons I 
was protected by the very vivacity of imagination which had led 
me among them. I moved about enveloped, as it were, in a 
protecting delusion, which my fancy spread around me. I as- 
similated to these people only as they struck me poetically ; 
their whimsical ways and a certain picturesqueness in their mode 
of life entertained me ; but I was neither amused nor corrupted 
by their vices. In short, I mingled among them, as Prince Hal 
did among his graceless associates, merely to gratify my humor. 

I did not investigate my motives in this manner, at the time, 
for I was too careless and thoughtless to reason about the mat- 
ter ; but I do so now, when I look back with trembling to think 
of the ordeal to which I unthinkingly exposed myself, and the 
manner in which I passed through it. Nothing, I am convinced, 
but the poetical temperament, that hurried me into the scrape, 
brought me out of it without my becoming an arrant vagabond. 

Full of the enjoyment of the moment, giddy with the wild- 
ness of animal spirits, so rapturous in a boy, I capered, I danced, 
1 played a thousand fantastic tricks about the stage, in the vil- 
lages in which we exhibited ; and I was universally pronounced 
the most agreeable monster that had ever been seen in those 
parts. My disappearance from school had awakened my father's 
anxiety ; for I one day heard a description of myself cried before 
the very booth in which I was exhibiting ; with the offer of a 
reward for any intelligence of me. 1 had no great scruple 
about letting my father suffer a little uneasiness on my account ; 
it would punish him for past indifference, and would make him 
value me the more when he found me again. I have wondered 
that some of my comrades did not recognize in me the stray 
sheep that was cried ; but they were all, no doubt, occupied by 
their own concerns. They were all laboring seriously in their 



104 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

antic vocations, for folly was a mere trade with the most of 
them, and^ they often grinned and capered with heavy hearts. 
With me, on the contrary, it was all real. I acted con amore, 
and rattled and laughed from the irrepressible gayety of my 
spirits. It is true that, now and then, I started and looked 
grave on receiving a sudden thwack from the wooden sword of 
Harlequin, in the course of my gambols ; as it brought to mind 
the birch of my schoolmaster. But I soon got accustomed to 
it ; and bore all the cuffing, and kicking, and tumbling about, 
that form the practical wit of your itinerant pantomime, with a 
good humor that made me a prodigious favorite. 

The country campaign of the troop was soon at an end, and 
we set off for the metropolis, to perform at the fairs which are 
held in its vicinity. The greater part of our theatrical property 
was sent on direct, to be in a state of preparation for the open- 
ing' of the fairs; while a detachment of the company travelled 
slowly on, foraging among the villages. I was amused with the 
desultory, hap-hazard kind of life we led ; here to-day, and 
gone to-morrow. Sometimes revelling in ale-houses ; sometimes 
feasting under hedges in the green fields. When audiences 
were crowded and business profitable, we fared well, and when 
otherwise, we fared scantily, and consoled ourselves with antici- 
pations of the next day's success. 

At length the increasing frequency of coaches hurrying past 
us, covered with passengers ; the increasing number of carriages, 
carts, wagons, gigs, droves of cattle and flocks of sheep, all 
thronging the road ; the snug country boxes with trim flower 
gardens twelve feet square, and their trees twelve feet high, all 
powdered with dust ; and the innumerable seminaries for young 
ladies and gentlemen, situated along the road, for the benefit of 
country air and rural retirement ; all these insignia announced 
that the mighty London was at hand. The hurry, and the crowd, 
and the bustle, and the noise, and the dust, increased as we pro- 
ceeded, until J saw the great cloud of smoke hanging in the air, 
like a canopy of state, over this queen of cities. 

In this way, then, did I enter the metropolis ; a strolling 
vagabond ; on the top of a caravan with a crew of vagabonds 
about me ; but I was as happy as a prince, for, like Prince Hal, 
I felt myself superior to my situation, and knew that I could at 
any time cast it off and emerge into my proper sphere. 

How my eyes sparkled as we passed Hyde-park corner, and 
I saw splendid equipages rolling by, with powdered footmen 
behind, in rich liveries, and fine nosegays, and gold-headed 
canes ; and with lovely women within, so sumptuously dressed 



THE YOUNG MAN OF ORE AT EXPECTATIONS. 105 

and so surpassingly lair. I was always extremely sensible to 
female beauty ; and here I saw it in all its fascination ; for, 
whatever mny be said of " beauty unadorned," there is something 
almost awful in female loveliness decked out in jewelled state. 
The swan-like neck encircled with diamonds ; the raven locks, 
clustered with pearls ; the ruby glowing on the snowy bosom, 
are objects that I could never contemplate without emotion ; 
and a dazzling white arm clasped with bracelets, and taper 
transparent fingers laden with sparkling rings, are to me irre- 
sistible. My very eyes ached as I gazed at the high and courtly 
beauty that passed before me. It surpassed all that my imagi- 
nation had conceived of the sex. 1 shrunk, for a moment, into 
shame at the company in which I was placed, and repined at the 
vast distance that seemed to intervene between me and these 
magnificent beings. 

1 forbear to give a detail of the happy life which I led about 
the skirts of the metropolis, playing at the various fairs, held 
there during the latter part of spring and the beginning of sum- 
mer. This continual change from place to place, and scene to 
scene, fed my imagination with novelties, and kept my spirits 
in a perpetual state of excitement. 

As I was tall of my age I aspired, at one time, to play heroes 
in tragedy ; but after two or three trials, I was pronounced, by 
the manager, totally unfit for the line ; and our first tragic 
actress, who was a largo woman, and held a small hero in 
abhorrence, confirmed his decision. 

The fact is, I had attempted to give point to language which 
had no point, and nature to scenes which had no nature. They 
said I did not till out my characters ; and they were right. The 
characters had all been prepared for a different sort of man. 
Our tragedy hero was a round, robustious fellow, with an amaz- 
ing voice ; who stamped and slapped his breast until his wig 
shook again ; and who roared and bellowed out his bombast, 
until every phrase swelled upon the ear like the sound of a 
kettle-drum. I might as well have attempted to fill out his 
clothes as his characters. When we had a dialogue together, I 
was nothing before him, with my slender voice and discriminat- 
ing manner. I might as well have attempted to parry a cudgel 
with a small sword. If he found me in any way gaining ground 
upon him, he would take refuge in his mighty voice, and throw 
his tones like peals of thunder at me, until they were drowned 
in the still louder thunders of applause from the audience. 

To tell the truth, I suspect that I was not shown fair play, 
and that there was management at the bottom ; for without 



106 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

vanity, I think I was a better actor than he. As I had not 
embarked in the vagabond line through ambition, I did not 
repine at lack of preferment ; but I was grieved to find that a 
vagrant life was not without its cares and anxieties, and that 
jealousies, intrigues, and mad ambition were to be found even, 
among vagabonds. 

Indeed, as I became more familiar with my situation, and 
the delusions of fancy began to fade away, I discovered that 
my associates were not the happy careless creatures I had at 
first imagined them. They were jealous of each other's talents ; 
they quarrelled about parts, the same as the actors on the grand 
theatres ; they quarrelled about dresses ; and there was one robe 
of 3 T ellow silk, trimmed with red, and a head-dress of three 
rumpled ostrich feathers, which were continually setting the 
ladies of the company by the ears. Even those who had attained 
the highest honors were not more happy than the rest ; for Mr. 
Flimsey himself, our first tragedian, and apparently a jovial, 
good-humored fellow, confessed to me one day, in the fulness 
of his heart, that he was a miserable man. He had a brother- 
in-law, a relative by marriage, though not by blood, who was 
manager of a theatre in a small country town. And this same 
brother, (" a little more than kin, but less than kind/') looked 
down upon him, and treated him with contumely, because for- 
sooth he was but a strolling player. I tried to console him with 
the thoughts of the vast applause he daily received, but it was 
all in vain. He declared tluit it gave him no delight, and that 
he should never be a happy man until the name of Flimsey 
rivalled the name of Crimp. 

How little do those before the scenes know of what passes 
behind ; how little can they judge, from the countenances of 
actors, of what is passing in their hearts. I have known two 
lovers quarrel like cats behind the scenes, who were, the 
moment after, ready to fly into each other's embraces. And I 
have dreaded, when our Belvidera was to take her farewell kiss 
of her Jaffier, lest she should bite a piece out of his cheek. Our 
tragedian was a rough joker off the stage ; our prime clown the 
most peevish mortal living. The latter used to go about snap- 
ping and snarling, with a broad laugh painted on his counte- 
nance ; and I can assure you that, whatever may be said of the 
gravity of a monkey, or the melancholy of a gibed cat, there 
is no more melancholy creature in existence than a mounte- 
bank off duty. 

The only thing in which all parties agreed was to backbite 
the manager, and cabal against his regulations. This, how* 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 107 

ever, I have since discovered to be a common trait of human 
nature, and to take place in all communities. It would seem 
to be the main business of man to repine at government. In 
ail situations of life into which I have looked, I have found 
mankind divided into two grand parties ; those who ride and 
those who are ridden. The great struggle of life seems to be 
which shall keep in the saddle. This, it appears to me, is the 
fundamental principle of politics, whether in great or little life. 
However, 1 did not mean to moralize ; but one cannot always 
sink the philosopher. 

Well, then, to return to myself. It was determined, as I 
said, that I was not fit for tragedy, and unluckily, as my study 
was bad, having a very poor memory, I was pronounced uufit 
for comedy also : besides, the line of young gentlemen was 
already engrossed by an actor with whom I could not pretend 
to enter into competition, he having filled it for almost half a 
century. I came down again therefore to pantomime. In 
consequence, however, of the good offices of the manager's 
lady, who had taken a liking to me, I was promoted from the 
part of the satyr to that of the lover ; and with my face patched 
and painted, a huge cravat of paper, a steeple-crowned hat, 
and dangling, long-skirted, sky-blue coat, was metamorphosed 
into the lover of Columbine. My part did not call for much of 
the tender and sentimental. I had merely to pursue the fugi- 
tive fair one ; to have a door now and then slammed in my 
face ; to run my head occasionally against a post ; to tumble 
and roll about with Pantaloon and the clown ; and to endure 
the hearty thwacks of Harlequin's wooden sword. 

As ill luck would have it, my poetical temperament began 
to ferment within me, and to work out new troubles. The 
inflammatory air of a great metropolis added to the rural 
scenes in which the fairs were held; such as Greenwich Park ; 
Epping Forest ; and the lovely valley of the West End, had a 
powerful effect upon me. While in Greenwich Park I was 
witness to the old holiday games of running down hill ; and 
kissing in the ring ; and then the firmament of blooming faces 
and blue eyes that would be turned towards me as I was play- 
ing antics on the stage ; all these set rny young blood, and my 
poetical vein, in full flow. In short, I played my character to 
the life, and became desperately enamoured of Columbine. She 
was a trim, well-made, tempting girl, with a roguish, dimpling 
face, and fine chestnut hair clustering all about it. The moment 
I got fairly smitten, there was an end to all playing. I was 
sucii a creature of fancy and feeling that I could not put on a 



108 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

pretended, when I was powerfully effected by a real emotion. 
I could not sport with a fiction that came so near to the fact. 
I became too natural in my acting to succeed. And then, what 
a situation for a lover ! 1 was a mere stripling, and she played 
with my passion ; for girls soon grow more adroit and knowing 
in these than your awkward youngsters. What agonies had I 
to suffer. Every time that she danced in front of the booth 
and made such liberal displays of her charms, I was in tor- 
ment. To complete my misery, I had a real rival in Harlequin ; 
an active, vigorous, knowing varlet of six-and-tweuty. What 
had a raw, inexperienced youngster like me to hope from such 
a competition ? 

I had still, however, some advantages in my favor. In spite 
of my change of life, I retained that indescribable something 
which always distinguishes the gentleman ; that something 
which dwells in a man's air and deportment, and not in his 
clothes ; and which it is as difficult for a gentleman to put off 
as for a vulgar fellow to put on. The company generally felt 
it, and used to call me little gentleman Jack. The girl felt it 
too ; and in spite of her predilection for my powerful rival, she 
liked to flirt with me. This only aggravated my troubles, by 
increasing my passion, and awakening the jealousy of her 
parti-colored lover. 

Alas! think what I suffered, at being obliged to keep up an 
ineffectual chase after my Columbine through whole pantomimes ; 
to see her carried off in the vigorous arms of the happy Harle- 
quin ; and to be obliged, instead of snatching her from him, to 
tumble sprawling with Pantaloon and the clown ; and bear the 
infernal and degrading thwacks of my rival's weapon of lath ; 
which, may heaven confound him ! (excuse my passion) the 
villain laid on with a malicious good-will ; nay, I could absolutely 
hear him chuckle and laugh beneath his accursed mask I beg 
pardon for growing a little warm in my narration. I wish to be 
cool, but these recollections will sometimes agitate me. I have 
heard and read of many desperate and deplorable situations of 
lovers ; but none, I think, in which true love was ever exposed 
to so severe and peculiar a trial. 

This could not last long. Flesh and blood, at least such flesh 
and blood as mine, could not bear it. I had repeated heart- 
burnings and quarrels with my rival, in which he treated me 
with the mortifying forbearance of a man towards a child. 
Had he quarrelled outright with me, I could have stomached 
it ; at least I should have known what part to take ; but to be 
humored and treated as a child in the presence of my mistress, 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GEE AT EXPECTATIONS. 109 

when I felt all the bantam spirit of a little man swelling within 
me gods, it was insufferable ! 

At length we were exhibiting one day at West End fair, which 
was at that time a very fashionable resort, and often beleaguered 
by gay equipages from town. Among the spectators that filled 
the front row of our little canvas theatre one afternoon, when I 
had to figure in a pantomime, was a party of young ladies from 
a boarding-school, with their governess. Guess my confusion, 
when, in the midst of my antics, 1 beheld among the number 
my quondam flame ; her whom I had be- rhymed at schopl ; her 
for whose charms I had smarted so severely ; the cruel Sacha- 
rissa ! What was worse, I fancied she recollected me ; and was 
repeating the story of my humiliating flagellation, for I saw her 
whispering to her companions and her governess. 1 lost all con- 
sciousness of the part I was acting, and of the place where I 
was. I felt shrunk to nothing, and could have crept into a rat- 
hole unluckily, none was open to receive me. Before 1 could 
recover from my confusion, I was tumbled over by Pantaloon 
and the clown ; and I felt the sword of Harlequin making vigor- 
ous assaults, in a manner most degrading to my dignity. 

Heaven and earth ! was 1 again to suffer martyrdom in this 
ignominious manner, in the knowledge, and even before the 
very eyes of this most beautiful, but most disdainful of fair 
ones? All my long-smothered wrath broke out at once; the 
dormant feelings of the gentleman arose within me ; stung to the 
quick by intolerable mortification, I sprang on my feet in an 
instant ; leaped upon Harlequin like a young tiger ; tore off his 
mask ; buffeted him in the face, arid soon shed more blood on 
the stage than had been spilt upon it during a whole tragic cam- 
paign of battles and murders. 

As soon as Harlequin recovered from his surprise he returned 
my assault with interest. I was nothing in his hands. 1 was 
game to be sure, for I was a gentleman ; but he had the clown- 
ish advantages of bone and muscle. I felt as if I could have 

~ 

fought even unto the death ; and I was likely to do so ; for he 
was, according to the vulgar phrase, " putting my head into 
Chancery/* when the gentle Columbine flew to my assistance. 
God bless the women ; they are always on the side of the weak 
and the oppressed. 

The battle now became general ; the dramatis personje ranged 
on either side. The manager interfered in vain. In vain were 
his spangled black bonnet and towering white feathers seen 
whisking about, and nodding, and bobbing, in the thickest of 
the tight. Warriors, ladies, priests, satyrs, kings, queens, gods 



110 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

and goddesses, all joined pell-mell in the fray. Never, since 
the conflict under the walls of Troy, had there been such a 
chance medley warfare of combatants, human and divine. The 
audience applauded, the ladies shrieked and fled from the thea- 
tre, and a scene of discord ensued that baffles all description. 

Nothing but the interference of the peace officers restored 
some degree of order. The havoc, however, that had been 
made among dresses and decorations put an end to all farther 
acting for that day. The battle over, the next thing was to 
inquire why it was begun ; a common question among politicians, 
after a bloody and unprofitable war ; and one not always easy to 
be answered. It was soon traced to me, and my unaccountable 
transport of passion, which they could only attribute to my hav- 
ing run a muck. The manager was judge and jury, and plain- 
tiff in the bargain, and in such cases justice is always speedily 
administered. He came out of the fight as sublime a wreck as 
the tSantissima Trinidada. His gallant plumes, which once 
towered aloft, were drooping about his ears. His robe of state 
hung in ribbons from his back, and but ill concealed the rav- 
ages he had suffered in the rear. He had received kicks and 
cuffs from all sides, during the tumult ; for every one took the 
opportunity of slyly gratifying some lurking grudge on his fat 
carcass. He was ti discreet man, and did not choose to declare 
war with all his company ; so he swore all those kicks and cuffs 
had been given by me, and I let him enjoy the opinion. Some 
wounds he bore, however, which were the incontestable traces of 
a woman's warfare. His sleek rosy cheek was scored by trick- 
ling furrows, which were ascribed to the nails of my intrepid 
and devoted Columbine. The ire of the monarch was not to be 
appeased. He had suffered in his person, and he had suffered 
in his purse ; his dignity too had been insulted, and that went 
for something ; for dignity is always more irascible the more 
petty the potentate. He wreaked his wrath upon the beginners 
of the affray, and Columbine and myself were discharged, at 
once, from the company. 

Figure me, then, to yourself, a stripling of little more than 
sixteen ; a gentleman by birth ; a vagabond by trade ; turned 
adrift upon the world ; making the best of my way through the 
crowd of West End fair ; my mountebank dress fluttering in 
rags about me ; the weeping Columbine hanging upon my arm, 
in splendid, but tattered finery ; the tears coursing one by one 
down her face ; carrying off the red paint in torrents, and 
literally " preying upon her damask cheek/* 

The crowd made way for us as we passed and hooted in our 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GEE AT EXPECTATIONS. Ill 

rear. I felt the ridicule of my situation, but had too much 
gallantry to desert this fair one, who had sacrificed every thing 
for me. Having wandered through the fair, we emerged, like 
another Adam and Eve, into unknown regions, and " had the 
world before us where to choose/* Never was a more discon- 
solate pair seen in the soft valley of West End. The luckless 
Columbine cast back many a lingering look at the fair, which 
seemed to put on a more than usual splendor ; its tents, and 
booths, and parti-colored groups, all brightening in the sun- 
shine, and gleaming among the trees ; and its gay flags and 
streamers playing and fluttering in the light summer airs. 
With a heavy sigh she would lean on my arm and proceed. I 
had no hope or consolation to give her; but she had linked 
herself to my fortunes, and she was too much of a woman to 
desert me. 

Pensive and silent, then, we traversed the beautiful fields 
that lie behind Hempstead, and wandered on, until the fiddle, 
and the hautboy, and the shout, and the laugh, were swallowed 
up in the deep sound of the big bass drum, and even that 
died away into a distant rumble. We passed along the pleasant 
sequestered walk of Nightingale lane. For a pair of lovers 
what scene could be more propitious? But such a pair of 
lovers ! Not a nightingale sang to soothe us : the very gypsies 
who were encamped there during the fair, made no offer to tell 
the fortunes of such an ill-omened couple, whose fortunes, I 
suppose, they thought too legibly written to need an interpreter ; 
and the gypsy children crawled into their cabins and peeped 
out fearfully at us as we went by. For a moment I paused, 
and was almost tempted to turn gypsy, but the poetical feeling 
for the present was fully satisfied, and I passed on. Thus we 
travelled, and travelled, like a prince and princess in nursery 
chronicle, until we had traversed a part of Hempstead Heath 
and arrived in the vicinity of Jack Straw's castle. 

Here, wearied and dispirited, we seated ourselves on the 
margin of the hill, hard by the very mile-stone where Whitting- 
ton of yore heard the Bow bells ring out the presage of his 
future greatness. Alas ! no bell rung in invitation to us, as 
we looked disconsolately upon the distant city. Old London 
seemed to wrap itself up unsociably in its mantle of brown 
smoke, and to offer no encouragement to such a couple of 
tatterdemalions. 

For once, at least, the usual course of the pantomime was 
reversed. Harlequin was jilted, and the lover had carried off 
Columbine in good earnest. But what was I to do with her? 



112 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

I had never contemplated such a dilemma ; and I now felt that 
even a fortunate lover may be embarrassed by his good fortune. 
I really knew not what was to become of me ; for J had still 
the boyish fear of returning home ; standing in awe of the 
stern temper of my father, and dreading the ready arm of the 
pedagogue. And even if I were to venture home, what was I 
to do with Columbine? I could not take her in my hand, and 
throw myself on my knees, and crave his forgiveness and his 
blessing according to dramatic usage. The very dogs would 
have chased such a draggle-tailed beauty from the grounds. 

In the midst of my doleful dumps, some one tapped me on 
the shoulder, and looking up I saw a couple of rough sturdy 
fellows standing behind me. Not knowing what to expect I 
jumped on my legs, and was preparing again to make battle ; 
but I was tripped up and secured in a twinkling. 

"Come, come, young master," said one of the fellows in a 
gruff, but good-humored tone, " don't let's have any of your 
tantrums ; one would have thought that you had had swing 
enough for this bout. Come, it's high time to leave off harle- 
quinading, and go home to your father. ' ' 

In fact I had a couple of Bow street officers hold of me. The 
cruel Sacharissa had proclaimed who I was, and that a reward 
had been offered throughout the country for any tidings of me ; 
and they had seen a description of me that had been forwarded 
to the police office in town. Those harpies, therefore, for the 
mere sake of filthy lucre, were resolved to deliver me over into 
the hands of my father and the clutches of my pedagogue. 

It was in vain that I swore I would not leave my faithful and 
afflicted Columbine. It was in vain that I tore myself from 
their grasp, and flew to her ; and vowed to protect her ; and 
wiped the tears from her cheek, and with them a whole blush 
that might have vied with the carnation for brilliancy. My 
persecutors were inflexible ; they even seemed to exult in our 
distress ; and to enjoy this theatrical display of dirt, and finery, 
and tribulation. I was carried off in despair, leaving my 
Columbine destitute in the wide world ; but many a look of 
agony did I cast back at her, as she stood gazing piteously after 
me from the brink of Hempstead Hill ; so forlorn, so tine, so 
ragged, so bedraggled, yet so beautiful. 

Thus ended my first peep into the world. I returned home, 
rich in good-for-nothing experience, and dreading the reward I 
was to receive for my improvement. My reception, however, 
was quite different from what I had expected. My father had 
a spice of the devil in him, and did not seem to like ine the 



THti YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 113 

worse for ray freak, which he termed "sowing my wild oats." 
He happened to have several of his sporting friends to dine 
with him the very day of my return ; they made me tell some 
of my adventures, and laughed heartily at them. One old fel- 
low, with an outrageously red nose, took to me hugely. I 
heard him whisper to my father that I was a lad of mettle, and 
might make something clever ; to which my father replied that 
" 1 had good points, but was an ill-broken whelp, and required 
a great deal of the whip." Perhaps this very conversation 
raised me a little in his esteem, for I found the red-nosed old 
gentleman was a veteran fox-hunter of the neighborhood, for 
whose opinion my father had vast deference. Indeed, I believe, 
he would have pardoned any thing in me more readily than 
poetry ; which he called a cursed, sneaking, puling, house- 
keeping employment, the bane of all true manhood. He swore 
it was unworthy of a youngster of my expectations, who was 
one day to have so great an estate, and would be able to keep 
horses and hounds and hire poets to write songs for him into 
the bargain. 

v!5 

I had now satisfied, for a time, my roving propensity. I had 
exhausted the poetical feeling. I had been heartily buffeted 
out of my love for theatrical display. I felt humiliated by my 
exposure, and was willing to hide my head anywhere for a 
season ; so that I might be out of the way of the ridicule of the 
world ; for I found folks not altogether so indulgent abroad as 
they were at my father's table. I could not stay at home ; the 
house was intolerably doleful now that my mother was no longer 
there to cherish me. Every thing around spoke mournfully of 
her. The little flower-garden in which she delighted was all in 
disorder and overrun with weeds. I attempted, for a day or 
two, to arrange it, but my heart grew heavier and heavier as I 
labored. Every little broken-down flower that I had seen her 
rear so tenderly, seemed to plead in mute eloquence to my 
feelings. There was a favorite honeysuckle which I had seen 
her often training with assiduity, and had heard her say it 
should be the pride of her garden. 1 found it grovelling along 
the ground, tangled and wild, and twining round every worth- 
less weed, and it struck me as an emblem of myself : a mere 
scatterling, running to waste and uselessness. I could work no 
longer in the garden. 

My father sent me to pay a visit to my uncle, by way of 
keeping the old gentleman in mind of me. I was received, as 
usual, without any expression of discontent ; which we always 
considered equivalent to a hearty welcome. Whether he had 



114 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

ever heard of my strolling freak or not I could not discover 5 
he and his man were both so taciturn. I spent a day or two 
roaming about the dreary mansion and neglected park ; and 
felt at one time, I believe, a touch of poetry, for I was tempted 
to drown myself in a fish-pond ; I rebuked the evil spirit, how- 
ever, and it left me. 1 found the same red-headed boy running 
wild about the park, but I felt in no humor to hunt him at 
present. On the contrary, I tried to coax him to me, and to 
make friends with him, but the young savage was untamable. 

When I returned from my uncle's I remained at home for 
some time, for my father was disposed, he said, to make a man 
of me. He took me out hunting with him, and I became a 
great favorite of the red-nosed squire, because I rode at every 
thing ; never refused the boldest leap, and was always sure to 
be in at the death. I used often, however, to offend my father 
at hunting dinners, by taking the wrong side in politics. My 
father was amazingly ignorant so ignorant, in fact, as not to 
know that he knew nothing. He was stanch, however, to 
church and king, and full of olcl-fashioned prejudices. Now, I 
had picked up a little knowledge in politics and religion, during 
my rambles with the strollers, and found myself capable of set- 
ting him right as to many of his antiquated notions. I felt it 
my duty to do so ; we were apt, therefore, to differ occasionally 
in the political discussions that sometimes arose at these hunt- 
ing dinners. 

I was at that age when a man knows least and is most vain 
of his knowledge ; and when he is extremely tenacious in defend- 
ing his opinion upon subjects about which he knows nothing. 
My father was a hard man for any one to argue with, for he 
never knew when he was refuted. I sometimes posed him a 
little, but then he had one argument that always settled the 
question ; he would threaten to knock me down. I believe he 
at last grew tired of me, because I both out-talked and out-rode 
him. The red-nosed squire, too, got out of conceit of me, be- 
cause in the heat of the chase, I rode over him one day as he 
and his horse lay sprawling in the dirt. My father, therefore, 
thought it high time to send rne to college ; and accordingly to 
Trinity College at Oxford was I sent. 

I had lost my habits of study while at home ; and I was not 
likely to find them again at college. I found that study was 
not the fashion at college, and that a lad of spirit only ate his 
terms ; and grew wise by dint of knife and fork. I was always 
prone to follow the fashions of the company into which I fell ; 
so I threw by my books, and became a man of spirit. As my 



TEE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 115 

father made me a tolerable allowance, notwithstanding the 
narrowness of his income, having an eye always to my great 
expectations, I was enabled to appear to advantage among my 
fellow-students. I cultivated all kinds of sports and exercises. 
I was one of the most expert oarsmen that rowed on the Isis. 
I boxed and fenced. I was a keen huntsman, and my chambers 
in college were always decorated with whips of all kinds, spurs, 
foils, and boxing gloves. A pair of leather breeches would 
seem to be throwing one leg out of the half-open drawers, and 
empty bottles lumbered the bottom of every closet. 

1 soon grew tired of this, and relapsed into my vein of mere 
poetical indulgence. I was charmed with Oxford, for it was 
full of poetry to me. I thought I should never grow tired of 
wandering about its courts and cloisters ; and visiting the dif- 
ferent college halls. I used to love to get iu places surrounded 
by the colleges, where all modern buildings were screened from 
the sight ; and to walk about them in twilight, and see the pro- 
fessors and students sweeping along in the dusk in their caps 
arid gowns. There was complete delusion in the scene. It 
seemed to transport me among the edifices and the people of 
old times. It was a great luxury, too, for me to attend the 
evening service in the new college chapel, and to hear the fine 
organ and the choir swelling an anthem in that solemn bui'd- 
iug ; where painting and music and architecture seem to com- 
bine their grandest effects. 

I became a loiterer, also, about the Bodleian library, and a 
great dipper into books ; but too idle to follow any course of 
study or vein of research. One of my favorite haunts was the 
beautiful walk, bordered by lofty elms, along the Isis, under 
the old gray walls of Magdalen College, which goes by the 
name of Addison's Walk ; and was his resort when a student 
at the college. I used to take a volume of poetry in my hand, 
and stroll up and down this walk for hours. 

My father came to see me at college. He asked me how I 
came on with my studies ; and what kind of hunting there was 
in the neighborhood. He examined my sporting apparatus ; 
wanted to know if any of the professors were fox-hunters ; and 
whether they were generally good shots ; for he suspected this 
reading so much was rather hurtful to the sight. Such was the 
only person to whom I was responsible for my improvement : is 
it matter of wonder, therefore, that I became a confirmed idler? 

I do not know how it is, but I cannot be idle long without 
getting in love. I became deeply smitten with a shopkeeper's 
daughter in the high street ; who in fact was the admiration of 



116 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

many of the students. I wrote several sonnets in praise of her, 
and spent half of my pocket-money at the shop, in buying arti- 
cles which I did not want, that I might have an opportunity of 
speaking to her. Her father, a severe-looking old gentleman, 
with bright silver buckles and a crisp, curled wig, kept a strict 
guard on her ; as the fathers generally do upon their daughters 
in Oxford ; and well they may. I tried to get into his good 
graces, and to be sociable with him ; but in vain. I said several 
good things in his shop, but he never laughed ; he had no relish 
for wit and humor. He was one of those dry old gentlemen 
who keep youngsters at bay. He had already brought up two 
or three daughters, and was experienced in the ways of students. 
He was as knowing and wary as a gray old badger that has 
often been hunted. To see him ou Sunday, so stiff and starched 
in his demeanor ; so precise in his dress ; with his daughter under 
his arm, and his ivory- headed cane in his hand, was enough to 
deter all graceless youngsters from approaching. 

I managed, however, in spite of his vigilance, to have several 
conversations witli the daughter, as I cheapened articles in the 
shop. I made terrible long bargains, and examined the articles 
over and over, before J purchased. In the mean time, I would 
convey a sonnet or an acrostic under cover of a piece of cam- 
bric, or slipped into a pair of stockings ; J would whisper soft 
nonsense into her ear as I haggled about the price ; and would 
squeeze her hand tenderly as I received my halfpence of change 
in a bit of whity-brown paper. Let this serve as a hint to all 
haberdashers, who have pretty daughters for shop-girls, and 
young students for customers. I do not know whether my 
words and looks were very eloquent ; but my poetry was irre- 
sistible ; for, to tell the truth, the girl had some literary taste, 
and was seldom without a book from the circulating library. 

By the divine power of poetry, therefore, which is irresistible 
with the lovely sex, did I subdue the heart of this fair little 
haberdasher. We carried on a sentimental correspondence for 
a time across the counter, and I supplied her with rhyme by 
the stockingful. At length I prevailed on her to grant me an 
assignation. But how was it to be effected ? Her father kept 
her always under his eye ; she never walked out alone ; and the 
house was locked up the moment that the shop was shut. All 
these difficulties served but to give zest to the adventure. I 
proposed that the assignation should be in her own chaml>er, 
into which 1 would climb at night. The plan was irresistible. 
A cruel father, a secret lover, and a clandestine meeting ! All 
the Jlttle girl's studies from the circulating library seemed about 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 117 

to be realized. But what had I in view in making this assigna- 
tion ? Indeed I know not. I had no evil intentions ; nor can I 
say that I had any good ones. I liked the girl, and wanted to 
have an opportunity of seeing more of her ; and the assignation 
was made, as I have done many things else, heedlessly and 
without forethought. I asked myself a few questions of the 
kind, after all my arrangements were made ; but the answers 
were very unsatisfactory. " Am I to ruin this poor thoughtless 
girl? " said I to myself. " No ! " was the prompt and indignant 
answer. 4k Am I to run away with her? " kt Whither and to 
what purpose? " " Well, then, am I to marry her? " " Pah ! 
a man of my expectations marry a shopkeeper's daughter! " 

" What, then, am I to do with her? " tfc Hum why. Let 

me get into her chamber first, and then consider " and so the 
self-examination ended. 

Well, sir, 4k come what come might," I stole under cover of 
the darkness to the dwelling of my dulcinea. All was quiet. 
At the concerted signal her window was gently opened. It was 
just above the projecting bow- window of her father's shop, 
which assisted me in mounting. The house was low, and I was 
enabled to scale the fortress with tolerable ease. I clambered 
with a beating heart ; I reached the casement ; I hoisted my 
body half into the chamber and was welcomed, not by the em- 
braces of my expecting fair one, but by the grasp of the 
crabbed-looking old father in the crisp curled wig. 

I extricated myself from his clutches and endeavored to make 
my retreat ; but I was confounded by his cries of thieves ! and 
robbers ! I was bothered, too, by his Sunday cane ; which was 
amazingly busy about my head as I descended ; and against 
which my hat was but a poor protection. Never before had I 
an idea of the activity of an old man's arm, and hardness of 
the knob of an ivory-headed cane. In my hurry and confusion 
I missed my footing, and fell sprawling on the pavement. I 
was immediately surrounded by myrmidons, who I doubt not 
were on the watch for me. Indeed, I was in no situation to 
escape, for I had sprained my ankle in the fall, and could not 
stand. I was seized as a house-breaker; and to exonerate 
myself from a greater crime I had to accuse myself of a less. 
I made known who I was, and why I came there. Alas ! the 
varlets knew it already, and were only amusing themselves at 
my expense. My perfidious muse had been playing me one of 
her slippery tricks. The old curmudgeon of a father had found 
my sonnets and acrostics hid away in holes and corners of his 
shop ; he had uo taste for poetry like his daughter, and had 



118 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

instituted a rigorous though silent observation. lie had moused 
upon our letters ; detected the ladder of ropes, and prepared 
every thing for my reception. Thus was I ever doomed to be 
led into scrapes by the muse. Let no man henceforth carry on 
a secret amour in poetry. 

The old man's ire was in some measure appeased by the 
pommelling of my head, and the anguish of my sprain ; so he 
did not put me to death on the spot. He was even humane 
enough to furnish a shutter, on which I was carried back to the 
college like a wounded warrior. The porter was roused to 
admit me ; the college gate was thrown open for my entry ; 
the affair was blazed abroad the next morning, and became the 
joke of the college from the buttery to the hall. 

I had leisure to repent during several weeks' confinement by 
my sprain, which I passed in translating Boethius' Consola- 
tions of Philosophy. I received a most tender and ill-spelled 
letter from my mistress, who had been sent to a relation in 
Coventry. She protested her innocence of my misfortunes, and 
vowed to be true to me " till deth." I took no notice of 
the letter, for I was cured, for the present, both of love and 
poetry. Women, however, are more constant in their attach- 
ments than men, whatever philosophers may say to the con- 
trary. I am assured that she actually remained faithful to her 
vow for several mouths : but she had to deal with a cruel father 
whose heart was as hard as the knob of his cane. He was not 
to be touched by tears or poetry ; but absolutely compelled her 
to marry a reputable young tradesman ; who made her a happy 
woman in spite of herself, and of all the rules of romance ; and 
what is more, the mother of several children. They are at this 
very day a thriving couple and keep a snug corner shop, just 
opposite the figure of Peeping Tom at Coventry. 

I will not fatigue you by any more details of my studies at 
Oxford, though they were not always as severe as these ; nor 
did I always pay as dear for my lessons. People may say what 
they please, a studious life has its charms, and there are many 
places more gloomy than the cloisters of a university. 

To be brief, then, I lived on in my usual miscellaneous 
manner, gradually getting a knowledge of good and evil, until 
I had attained my twenty-first year. I had scarcely come of 
age when I heard of the sudden death of my father. The 
shock was severe, for though he had never treated me with 
kindness, still he was my father, and at his death I felt myself 
alone in the world. 

I returned- home to act as chief mourner at his funeral. It 



IE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 119 

was attended by many of the sportsmen of the country ; for he 
was an important member of their fraternity. According to 
his request his favorite hunter was led after the hearse. The 
red-nosed fox-hunter, who had taken a little too much wine at 
the house, made a maudlin eulogy of the deceased, and wished 
to give the view halloo over the grave ; but he was rebuked by 
the rest of the company. They all shook me kindly by the 
hand, said many consolatory things to me, and invited me to 
become a member of the hunt in my father's place. 

When I found myself alone in my paternal home, a crowd of 
gloomy feelings came thronging upon me. It was a place that 
always seemed to sober me, and bring me to reflection. Now, 
especially, it looked so deserted and melancholy ; the furniture 
displaced about the room ; the chairs in groups, as their departed 
occupants had sat, either in whispering tete-^-tetes, or gossip- 
ing clusters ; the bottles and decanters and wine-glasses, half 
emptied, and scattered about the tables all dreary traces of a 
funeral festival. I entered the little breakfasting room. There 
were my father's whip and spurs hanging by the fireplace, and 
his favorite pointer lying on the hearth-rug. The poor animal 
came fondling about me, and licked my hand, though he had 
never before noticed me ; and then he looked round the room, 
and whined, and wagged his tail slightly, and gazed wistfully 
in my face. I felt the full force of the appeal. " Poor Dash ! " 
said I, " we are both alone in the world, with nobody to care 
for us, and we'll take care of one another." The dog never 
quitted me afterwards. 

I could not go into my mother's room : my heart swelled 
when I passed within sight of the door. Her portrait hung in 
the parlor, just over the place where she used to sit. As I cast 
my eyes on it I thought it looked at me with tenderness, and I 
burst into tears. My heart had long been seared by living in 
public schools, and buffeting about among strangers who cared 
nothing for me ; but the recollection of a mother's tenderness 



was overcoming. 



I was not of an age or a temperament to be long depressed. 
There was a reaction in my system that always brought me 
up again at every pressure ; and indeed my spirits were most 
buoyant after a temporary prostration. I settled the concerns 
of the estate as soon as possible ; realized my property, which 
was not very considerable, but which appeared a vast deal 
to me, having a poetical eye that magnified every thing ; and 
finding myself, at the end of a few months, free of all farther 
business or restraint, I determined to go to London and enjoy 



120 TALES OF A TEA VELLBR* 

myself. Why should not I? I was young, animated, joyous ; 
had plenty of funds for present pleasures, and my uncle's estate 
in the perspective. N Let those mope at college and pore over 
books, thought I, who have their way to make in the world ; it 
would be ridiculous drudgery in a youth of my expectations. 

Well, sir, away to London I rattled in a tandem, determined 
Ito take the town gayly. I passed through several of the villages 
where I had played the jack-pudding a few years before ; and 
I visited the scenes of many of my adventures and follies, 
merely from that feeling of melancholy pleasure which we have 
in stepping again into the footprints of foregone existence, even 
when they have passed among weeds and briars. I made a 
circuit in the latter part of my journey, so as to take in West 
End and Hempstead, the scenes of my last dramatic exploit, 
and of the battle royal of the booth. As I drove along the 
ridge of Hempstead Hill, by Jack Straw's castle, I paused at 
the spot where Columbine and I had sat down so disconsolately 
in our ragged finery, and looked dubiously upon London. I 
almost expected to see her again, standing on the hill's brink, 
u like Niobe all tears ; " mournful as Babylon in ruins ! 

44 Poor Columbine ! " said I, with a heavy sigh, u thou wer- 
a gallant, generous girl a true woman, faithful to the dist 
tressed, and ready to sacrifice thyself in the cause of worthless 
man ! " 

I tried to whistle off the recollection of her ; for there was 
always something of self-reproach with it. I drove gayly along 
the road, enjoying the stare of hostlers and stable-boys as I 
managed my horses knowingly down the steep street of Hemp- 
stead ; when, just at the skirts of the village, one of the traces 
of my leader came loose. I pulled up ; and as the animal was 
restive and my servant a bungler, I called for assistance to the 
robustious master of a snug ale-house, who stood at his door 
with a tankard in his hand. He came readily to assist me, 
followed by his wife, with her bosom half open, a child in her 
arms, and two more at her heels. I stared for a moment as if 
doubting my eyes. I could not be mistaken ; in the fat, beer- 
blown landlord of the ale-house I recognized my old rival Har- 
lequin, and in his slattern spouse, the once trim and dimpling 
Columbine. 

The change of my looks, from youth to manhood, and the 
change of my circumstances, prevented them from recognizing 
me. They could not suspect, in the dashing young buck, fash- 
ionably dressed, and driving his own equipage, their former 
qomrade, the painted beau, with old peaked hat and long, flimsy, 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 121 

sky-blue coat. My heart yearned with kindness towards Col- 
umbine, and I was glad to see her establishment a thriving one. 
As soon as the harness was adjusted, I tossed a small purse of 
gold into her ample bosom ; and then, pretending to give my horses 
a hearty cut of the whip, I made the lash curl with* a whistling 
about the sleek sides of ancient Harlequin. The horses dashed 
off like lightning, and I was whirled out of sight, before either 
of the parties could get over their surprise at my liberal dona- 
tions. I have always considered this as one of the greatest 
proofs of my poetical genius. It was distributing poetical jus- 
tice in perfection. 

1 now entered London en cavalier, and became a blood upon 
town. I took fashionable lodgings in the West End ; employed 
the first tailor ; frequented the regular lounges ; gambled a lit- 
tle ; lost my money good-humoredly, and gained a number of 
fashionable good-for-nothing acquaintances. Had I had more 
industry and ambition in my nature, I might have worked my 
way to the very height of fashion, as I saw many laborious 
gentlemen doing around me. But it is a toilsome, an anxious, 
and an unhappy life ; there are few beings so sleepless and 
miserable as your cultivators of fashionable smiles. 

I was quite content with that kind of society which forms the 
frontiers of fashion, and may be easily taken possession of. I 
found it a light, easy, productive soil. I had but to go about 
and sow visiting cards, and I reaped a whole harvest of invita- 
tions. Indeed, my figure and address were by no means against 
me. It was whispered, too, among the young ladies, that I 
was prodigiously clever, and wrote poetry ; and the old ladies 
had ascertained that I was a young gentleman of good family, 
handsome fortune, and " great expectations.*' 

I now was carried away by the hurry of gay life, so intoxi- 
cating to a young man ; and which a man of poetical tempera- 
ment enjoys so highly on his first tasting of it. That rapid 
variety of sensations ; that whirl of brilliant objects ; that suc- 
cession of pungent pleasures. I had no time for thought ; I only 
felt. I never attempted to write poetry ; rny poetry seemed all 
to go off by transpiration. I lived poetry ; it was all a poetical 
dream to me. A mere sensualist knows nothing of the delights 
of a splendid metropolis. He lives in a round of animal grati- 
fications and heartless habits. But to a young man of poetical 
feelings it is an ideal world ; a scene of enchantment arid de- 
lusion ; his imagination is in perpetual excitement, and gives a 
spiritual zest to every pleasure. 

A season of town life somewhat sobered me of my intox.ca- 



122 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

tion ; or rather I was rendered more serious by one' of my old 
complaints I fell in love. It was with a very pretty, though 
a very haughty fair one, who had come to London under the 
care of an />ld maiden aunt, to enjoy the pleasures of a winter 
in town, and to get married. There was not a doubt of her 
commanding a choice of lovers ; for she had long been the belle 
of a little cathedral town ; and one of the prebendaries had 
absolutely celebrated her beauty in a copy of Latin verses. 

I paid my court to her, and was favorably received both by 
her and her aunt. Nay, I had a marked preference shown me 
over the younger son of a needy baronet, and a captain of dra- 
goons on half pay. I did not absolutely take the field in form, 
for I was determined not to be precipitate ; but I drove my 
equipage frequently through the street in which she lived, and 
was always sure to see her at the window, generally with a book 
in her hand. I resumed my knack at rhyming, and sent her a 
long copy of verses ; anonymously to be sure ; but she knew my 
handwriting. They displayed, however, the most delightful 
ignorance on the subject. The young lady showed them to me ; 
wondered who they could be written by ; and declared there was 
nothing in this world she loved so much as poetry : while the 
maiden aunt would put her pinching spectacles on her nose, and 
read them, with blunders in sense and sound, that were excru- 
ciating to an author's ears ; protesting there was nothing equal 
to them in the whole elegant extracts. 

The fashionable season closed without my adventuring to 
make a declaration, though I certainly had encouragement. I 
was not perfectly sure that I had effected a lodgement in the 
young lady's heart ; and, to tell the truth, the aunt overdid her 
part, and was a little too extravagant in her liking of me. I 
knew that maiden aunts were not apt to be captivated by the 
mere personal merits of their nieces' admirers, and I wanted to 
ascertain how much of all this favor I owed to my driving an 
equipage and having great expectations. 

I had received many hints how charming their native town 
was during the summer months ; what pleasant society they had ; 
and what beautiful drives about the neighborhood. They had 
not, therefore, returned home long, before I made my appear- 
ance in dashing style, driving down the principal street. It is 
an easy thing to put a little quiet cathedral town in a buzz. 
The very next morning I was seen at prayers, seated in the pew 
of the reigning belle. All the congregation was in a flutter. 
The prebends eyed me from their stalls ; questions were whis- 
pered about the aisles after service, " Who is he? " and '* What 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 123 

is he?" and the replies were as usual u A young gentleman 
of good family and fortune, and great expectations." 

I was pleased with the peculiarities of a cathedral town, 
where I found I was a personage of some consequence. I was 
quite a brilliant acquisition to the young ladies of the cathedral 
circle, who were glad to have a beau that was not in a black 
coat and clerical wig. You must know that there was a vast 
distinction between the classes of society of the town. As it 
was a place of some trade, there were many wealthy inhabitants 
among the commercial and manufacturing classes, who lived in 
style and gave many entertainments. Nothing of trade, how- 
ever, was admitted into the cathedral circle faugh ! the thing 
could not be thought of. The cathedral circle, therefore, was 
apt to be very select, very dignified, and very dull. They had 
evening parties, at which the old ladies played cards with the 
prebends, and the young ladies sat and looked on, and shifted 
from one chair to another about the room, until it was time to 
go home. 

It was difficult to get up a ball, from the want of partners, the 
cathedral circle being very deficient in dancers ; and on those 
occasions, there was an occasional drafting among the dancing 
men of the other circle, who, however, were generally regarded 
with great reserve and condescension by the gentlemen in pow- 
dered wigs. Several of the young ladies assured me, in confi- 
dence, that they had often looked with a wistful eye at the 
gayety of the other circle, where there was such plenty of young 
beaux, and where they all seemed to enjoy themselves so mer- 
rily ; but that it would be degradation to think of descending 
from their sphere. 

I admired the degree of old-fashioned ceremony and super- 
annuated courtesy that prevailed in this little place. The bow- 
ings and courtesyings that would take place about the cathedrai 
porch after morning service, where knots of old gentlemen and 
ladies would collect together to ask after each other's health, 
and settle the card party for the evening. The little presents 
of fruits and delicacies, and the thousand petty messages that 
would pass from house to house ; for in a tranquil community 
like this, living entirely at ease, and having little to do, little 
duties and little civilities and little amusements, fill up the day. 
I have smiled, as I looked from my window on a quiet street 
near the cathedral, in the middle of a warm summer day, to see a 
corpulent powdered footman in rich livery, carrying a small tart 
on a large silver salver. A dainty tidbit, sent, no doubt, by some 
worthy old dowager, to top off the dinner of her favorite prebend. 



124 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

Nothing could be more delectable, also, than the breaking up 
of one of their evening card parties. Such shaking of hands ; 
such mobbing up in cloaks and tippets ! There were two or 
three old sedan chairs that did the duty of the whole place ; 
though the greater part made their exit in clogs and pattens, 
with a footman or waiting-maid carrying a lantern in advance ; 
and at a certain hour of the night the clank of pattens and the 
gleam of these jack lanterns, here and there, about the quiet 
little town, gave notice that the cathedral card party had dis- 
solved, and the luminaries were severally seeking their homes. 
To such a community, therefore, or at least to the female part 
of it, the accession of a gay, dashing young beau was a matter 
of some importance. The old ladies eyed me with complacency 
through their spectacles, and the young ladies pronounced me 
divine. Everybody received me favorably, excepting the gen- 
tleman who had written the Latin verses on the belle. Not 
that he was jealous of my success with the lady, for he had no 
pretensions to her ; but he heard my verses praised wherever 
he went, and he could not endure a rival with the muse. 

I was thus carrying every thing before me. I was the Adonis 
of the cathedral circle ; when one evening there was a public 
ball which was attended likewise by the gentry of the neighbor- 
hood. I took great pains with my toilet on the occasion, and I 
had never looked better. I had determined that night to make 
my grand assault on the heart of the young lady, to batter it 
with all iny forces, and the next morning to demand a surrender 
in due form. 

I entered the ball-room amidst a buzz and flutter, which gen- 
erally took place among the young ladies on my appearance. I 
was in fine spirits ; for to tell the truth, I had exhilarated myself 
by a cheerful glass of wine on the occasion. I talked, and rattled, 
and said a thousand silly things, slap-dash, with all the confidence 
of a man sure of his auditors ; and every thing had its effect. 

In the midst of my triumph I observed a little knot gathering 
together in the upper part of the room. By degrees it increased. 
A tittering broke out there ; and glances were cast round at me, 
and then there would be fresh tittering. Some of the young 
ladies would hurry away to distant parts of the room, and whis- 
per to their friends ; wherever they went there was still this 
tittering and glancing at me. I did not know what to make of 
all this. I looked at myself from head to foot ; and peeped at 
my back in a glass, to see if any thing was odd about my person ; 
any awkward exposure ; any whimsical tag hanging out no 
erery thing was right. I was a perfect picture- 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GEE AT EXPECTATIONS. 125 

I determined that it must be some choice saying of mine, that 
was bandied about in this knot of merry beauties, and I deter- 
mined to enjoy one of my good things in the rebound. 

I stepped gently, therefore, up the room, smiling at every one 
as I passed, who J must say all smiled and tittered in return. 
I approached the group, smirking and perking my chin, like a 
man who is full of pleasant feeling, and sure of being well re- 
ceived. The cluster of little belles opened as I advanced. 

Heavens and earth ! whom should I perceive in the midst of 
them, but my early and tormenting flame, the everlasting Saeha- 
rissa ! She was grown up, it is true, into the full beauty of 
womanhood, but showed by the provoking merriment of her 
countenance, that she perfectly recollected me, and the ridicu- 
lous flagellations of which she had twice been the cause. 

I saw at once the exterminating cloud of ridicule that was 
bursting over me. My crest fell. The flame of love went sud- 
denly out in my bosom ; or was extinguished by overwhelming 
shame.' How I got down the room I know not ; I fancied every 
one tittering at me. Just as I reached the door, I caught a 
glance of my mistress and her aunt, listening to the whispers of 
my poetic rival ; the old lady raising her hands and eyes, and 
the face of the young one lighted up with scorn ineffable. I 
paused to see no more ; but made two steps from the top of the 
stairs to the bottom. The next morning, before sunrise, I beat 
a retreat ; and did not feel the blushes cool from my tingling 
cheeks until 1 had lost sight of the old towers of the cathedral. 

J now returned to town thoughtful and crestfallen. My money 
was nearly spent, for J had lived freely and without calculation. 
The dream of love was over, and the reign of pleasure at an 
end. I determined to retrench while I had yet a trifle left ; so 
selling my equipage and horses for half their value, I quietly 
put the money in my pocket and turned pedestrian. I had not 
a doubt that, with my great expectations, I could at any time 
raise funds, either on usury or by borrowing ; but I was princi- 
pled against both one and the other ; and resolved, by strict 
economy, to make my slender purse hold out, until my uncle 
should give up the ghost ; or rather, the estate. 

I stayed at home, therefore, and read, and would have writ- 
ten ; but I had already suffered too much from my poetical pro- 
ductions, which had generally involved me in some ridiculous 
scrape. I gradually acquired a rusty look, and had a straight- 
ened, money-borrowing air, upon which the world began to shy 
me. I have never felt disposed to quarrel with the world for 
its conduct. It has always used me well. When I have been 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

flush, and gay, and disposed for society, it has caressed me ; 
and when I have been pinched, and reduced, and wished to be 
alone, why, it has left me alone, and what more could a man de- 
sire? Take my word for it, this world is a more obliging world 
than people generally represent it. 

Well, sir, in the midst of my retrenchment, my retirement, 
and my studiousness, 1 received news that my uncle was dan- 
gerously ill. I hastened on the wings of an heir's affection to 
receive his dying breath and his last testament. I found him 
attended by his faithful valet, old Iron John ; by the woman 
who occasionally worked about the house ; and by the foxy- 
headed boy, young Orson, whom I had occasionally hunted 
about the park. 

Iron John gasped a kind of asthmatical salutation as I entered 
the room, and received me with something almost like a smile 
of welcome. The woman sat blubbering at the foot of the bed ; 
and the foxy-headed Orson, who had now grown to be a lubberly 
lout, stood gazing in stupid vacancy at a distance. 

My uncle lay stretched upon his back. The chamber was 
without a fire, or any of the comforts of a sick-room. The cob- 
webs flaunted from the ceiling. The tester was covered with 
dust, and the curtains were tattered. From underneath the bed 
peeped out one end of his strong box. Against the wainscot 
were suspended rusty blunderbusses, horse pistols, and a cut- 
and-thrust sword, with which he had fortified his room to defend 
his life and treasure. He had employed no physician during 
his illness, and from the scanty relics lying on the table, seemed 
almost to have denied himself the assistance of a cook. 

When I entered the room he was lying motionless ; with his 
eyes fixed and his mouth open ; at the first look I thought him 
a, corpse. The noise of my entrance made him turn his head. 
At the sight of me a ghastly smile came over his face, and his 
glazing eye gleamed with satisfaction. It was the only smile 
he had ever given me, and it went to my heart. u Poor old 
man ! " thought I, " why would you not let me love you ? Why 
would you force me to leave you thus desolate, when I see that 
my presence has the power to cheer you ? ' ' 

" Nephew," said he, after several efforts, and in a low gasp- 
ing voice " I am glad you are come. I shall now die with 
satisfaction. Look," said he, raising his withered hand and 
pointing u look in that box on the table you will find that 
I have not forgotten you." 

I pressed his hand to my heart, and the tears stood in my 
eyes. I sat down by his bedside, and watched him, but he 



THE YOUNG MAN OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 127 

never spoke again. My presence, however, gave him evident 
satisfaction for every now and then, as he looked at me, a 
vague smile would come over his visage, and he would feebly 
point to the sealed box on the table. As the day wore away, 
his life seemed to wear away with it. Towards sunset, his hand 
sunk on the bed and lay motionless ; his eyes grew glazed ; his 
mouth remained open, and thus he gradually died. 

I could not but feel shocked at this absolute extinction of my 
kindred. I dropped a tear of real sorrow over this strange old 
man, who had thus reserved his smile of kindness to his death- 
bed ; like an evening sun after a gloomy day, just shining out 
to set in darkness. Leaving the corpse in charge of the domes- 
tics, I retired for the night. 

It was a rough night. The winds seemed as if singing my 
uncle's requiem about the mansion ; and the bloodhounds howled 
without as if they knew of the death of their old master. Iron 
John almost grudged me the tallow candle to burn in my apart- 
ment and light up its dreariness ; so accustomed had he been 
to starveling economy. I could not sleep. The recollection of 
my uncle's dying scene and the dreary sounds about the house, 
affected my mind. These, however, were succeeded by plans 
for the future, and I lay awake the greater part of the night, 
indulging the poetical anticipation, how soon I would make these 
old walls ring with cheerful life, and restore the hospitality of 
my mother's ancestors. 

My uncle's funeral was decent, but private. I knew there 
was nobody that respected his memory ; and 1 was determined 
that none should be summoned to sneer over his funeral wines, 
and make merry at his grave. He was buried in the church of 
the neighboring village, though it was not the burying place 
of his race ; but he had expressly enjoined that he should not be 
buried with his family ; he had quarrelled with the most of them 
when living, and he carried his resentments even into the grave. 

I defrayed the expenses of the funeral out of my own purse, 
that I might have done with the undertakers at once, and clear 
the ill-omened birds from the premises. I invited the parson 
of the parish, and the lawyer from the village to attend at the 
house the next morning and hear the reading of the will. I 
treated them to an excellent breakfast, a profusion that had 
not been seen at the house for many a year. As soon as the 
breakfast things were removed, I summoned Iron John, the 
woman, and the boy, for 1 was particular of having every one 
present and proceeding regularly. The box was placed on the 
table. All was silence. 1 broke the seal ; raised the lid ; and 



128 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

beheld not the will, but my accursed poem of Doubting Castle 
and Giant Despair ! 

Could any mortal have conceived that this old withered man ; 
so taciturn, and apparently lost to feeling, could have treasured 
up for years the thoughtless pleasantry of a boy, to punish him 
with such cruel ingenuity ? I could now account for his dying 
smile, the only one he had ever given me. He had been a 
grave man all his life ; it was strange that he should die in the 
enjoyment of a joke ; and it was hard that that joke should be 
at my expense. 

The lawyer and the parson seemed at a loss to comprehend 
the matter. " Here must be some mistake," said the lawyer, 
kt there is no will here." 

44 Oh," said Iron John, creaking forth his rusty jaws, "if it 
is a will you are looking for, 1 believe I can find one." 

He retired with the same singular smile with which he had 
greeted me on my arrival, and which I now apprehended boded 
me no good. In a little while he returned with a will perfect 
at all points, properly signed and sealed and witnessed ; worded 
with horrible correctness ; in which he left large legacies to 
Iron John and his daughter, and the residue of his fortune to 
the foxy-headed boy ; who, to my utter astonishment, was his 
son by this very woman ; he having married her privately ; and, 
as I verily believe, for no other purpose than to have an heir, 
and so balk my father and his issue of the inheritance. There 
was one little proviso, in which he mentioned that having dis- 
covered his nephew to have a pretty turn for poetry, he pre- 
sumed he had no occasion for wealth ; he recommended him, 
however, to the patronage of his heir ; and requested that he 
might have a garret, rent free, in Doubting Castle. 



GRAVE REFLECTIONS OF A DISAPPOINTED MAN. 

MR. BUCKTHORNE had paused at the death of his uncle, and 
the downfall of his great expectations, which formed, as he said, 
an epoch in his history ; and it was not until some little time 
afterwards, and in a very sober mood, that lie resumed his parti- 
colored narrative. 

After leaving the domains of my defunct uncle, said he, when 
the gate closed between me and what was once to have been 
mine, I felt thrust out naked into the world, and completely 



GRA VE REFLECTIONS OF A DISAPPOINTED MAN. 12$ 

abandoned to fortune. What was to become of me ? I had been 
brought up to nothing but expectations, and they had all been 
disappointed. I had no relations to look to for counsel or 
assistance. The world seemed all to have died away from me. 
Wave after wave of relationship had ebbed off, and I was left 
a mere hulk upon the strand. I am not apt to be greatly cast 
down, but at this time I felt sadly disheartened. I could not 
realize my situation, nor form a conjecture how I was to get 
forward. 

I was now to endeavor to make money. The idea was new 
and strange to me. It was like being asked to discover the 
philosopher's stone. I had never thought about money, other 
than to put my hand into my pocket and find it, or if there were 
none there, to wait until a new supply came from home. I had 
considered life as a mere space of time to be filled up with en- 
joyments ; but to have it portioned out into long hours and days 
of toil, merely that I might gain bread to give me strength to 
toil on ; to labor but for the purpose of perpetuating a life of 
labor was new and appalling to me. This may appear a very 
simple matter to some, but it will be understood by every un- 
lucky wight in my predicament, who has had the misfortune 
of being born to great expectations. 

I passed several clays in rambling about the scenes of my 
boyhood ; partly because I absolutely did not know what to do 
with myself, and partly because I did not know that 1 should 
ever see them again. I clung to them as one clings to a wreck, 
though he knows he must eventually cast himself loose and 
swim for his life. I sat down on a hill within sight of my pater- 
nal home, but I did not venture to approach it, for I felt com- 
punction at the thoughtlessness with which I had dissipated my 
patrimony. But was I to blame, when I had the rich possessions 
of my curmudgeon of an uncle in expectation ? 

The new possessor of the place was making great alterations. 
The house was almost rebuilt. The trees winch stood about it 
were cut down ; my mother's flower-garden was thrown iuto a 
lawn ; all was undergoing a change. I turned my back upon 
it with a sigh, and rambled to another part of the country. 

How thoughtful a little adversity makes one. As I came in 
sight of the school-house where I had so often been flogged in 
the cause of wisdom, you would hardly have recognized the 
truant boy who but a few years since had eloped so heedlessly 
from its walls. I leaned over the paling of the playground, and 
watched the scholars at their games, and looked to see if there 
might not be some urchin among them, like 1 was once, full of 



130 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

gay dreams about life and the world. The playground seemed 
smaller than when I used to sport about it. The house and 
park, too, of the neighboring squire, the father of the cruel 
Sacharissa, had shrunk in size and diminished in magnificence. 
The distant hills no longer appeared so far off, and, alas ! no 
longer awakened ideas of a fairy land beyond. 

As I was rambling pensively through a neighboring meadow, 
in which 1 had many a time gathered primroses, I met the very 
pedagogue who had been the tyrant and dread of my boyhood. 
I had sometimes vowed to myself, when suffering under his rod, 
that I would have my revenge if ever I met him when I had 
grown to be a man. The time had come ; but I had no dispo- 
sition to keep my vow. The few years which had matured me 
into a vigorous man had shrunk him into decrepitude. Ue 
appeared to have had a paralytic stroke. 1 looked at him, and 
wondered that this poor helpless mortal could have been an 
object of terror to me ! That I should have watched with 
anxiety the glance of that failing eye, or dreaded the power of 
that trembling hand ! He tottered feebly along the path, and 
had some difficulty in getting over a stile. I ran and assisted 
him. He looked at me with surprise, but did not recognize me, 
and made a low bow of humility and thanks. I had no dispo- 
sition to make myself known, for 1 felt that I had nothing 
to boast of. The pains he had taken and the pains he had 
inflicted had been equally useless. His repeated predictions 
were fully verified, and I felt that little Jack Buckthorne, the 
idle boy, had grown up to be a very good-for-nothing man. 

This is all very comfortless detail ; but as I have told you of 
my follies, it is meet that I show you how for once I was 
schooled for them. 

The most thoughtless of mortals will some time or other have 
this day of gloom, when he will be compelled to reflect. I felt 
on this occasion as if I had a kind of penance to perform, and 
I made a pilgrimage in expiation of my past levity. 

Having passed a night at Leamington, I set off by a private 
path which leads up a hill, through a grove, and across quiet 
fields, until 1 came to the small village, or rather hamlet, of Len- 
ington. I sought the village church. It is an old low edifice 
of gray stone on the brow of a small hill, looking over fertile 
fields to where the proud towers of Warwick Castle lifted them- 
selves against the distant horizon. A part of the church-yard 
is shaded by large trees. Under one of these my mother lay 
buried. You have, no doubt, thought me a light, heartless 
being. I thought myself so but there are moments of adver- 



GRAVE REFLECTIONS OF A DISAPPOINTED MAN. 181 

sity which let us into some feelings of our nature, to which we 
might otherwise remain perpetual strangers. 

I sought my mother's grave. The weeds were already matted 
over it, and the tombstone was half hid among nettles. 1 
cleared them away and they stung my hands ; but I was heed- 
less of the pain, for my heart ached too severely. I sat down 
on the grave, and read over and over again the epitaph on the 
stone. It was simple, but it was true. 1 had written it myself. 
I had tried to write a poetical epitaph, but in vain ; my feelings 
refused to utter themselves in rhyme. My heart had gradually 
been filling during my lonely wanderings ; it was now charged 
to the brim and overflowed. I sank upon the grave and buried 
my face in the tall grass and wept like a child. Yes, 1 wept in 
manhood upon the grave, as I had in infancy upon the bosom, 
of my mother. Alas ! how little do we appreciate a mother's 
tenderness while living ! How heedless are we in youth, of all 
her anxieties and kindness. But when she is dead and gone ; 
when the cares and coldness of the world come withering to our 
hearts ; when we find how hard it is to find true sympathy, how 
few love us for ourselves, how few will befriend us in our mis- 
fortunes ; then it is we think of the mother we have lost. It 
is true I had always loved my mother, even in my most heedless 
days ; but I felt how inconsiderate and ineffectual had been my 
love, tyly heart melted as I retraced the days of infancy, when 
I was led by a mother's hand and rocked to sleep in a mother's 
arms, and was without care or sorrow. u Oh, my mother!" 
exclaimed I, burying my face again in the grass of the grave 
" Oh, that I were once more by your side ; sleeping, never to 
wake again, on the cares and troubles of this world ! " 

I am not naturally of a morbid temperament, and the violence 
of my emotion gradually exhausted itself. It was a hearty, 
honest, natural discharge of griefs which had been slowly 
accumulating, and gave me wonderful relief. I rose from the 
grave as if I had been offering up a sacrifice, and I felt as if 
that sacrifice had been accepted. 

I sat down again on the grass, and plucked, one by one, the 
weeds from her grave ; the tears trickled more slowly down my 
cheeks, and ceased to be bitter. It was a comfort to think that 
she had died before sorrow and poverty came upon her child, 
and ail his great expectations were blasted. 

I leaned my cheek upon my hand and looked upon the land- 
scape. Its quiet beauty soothed me. The whistle of a peasant 
from an adjoining field came cheerily to my ear. I seemed to 
respire hope and comfort with the free air that whispered 



182 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

through the leaves and played lightly with my hair, and dried 
the tears upon my cheek. A lark, rising from the field before 
me, and leaving, as it were, a stream of song behind him as lie 
rose, lifted my fancy with him. He hovered in the air just 
above the place where the towers of Warwick Castle marked 
the horizon ; and seemed as if fluttering with delight at his own 
melody. u Surely," thought I, "if there were such a thing as 
transmigration of souls, this might be taken for some poet, let 
loose from earth, but still revelling in song, and carolling about 
fair fields and lordlv towns. " 

* 

At this moment the long- forgotten feeling of poetry rose 
within me. A thought sprung at once into my mind: "I 
will become an author," said I. "I have hitherto indulged in 
poetry as a pleasure, and it has brought me nothing but pain. 
Let me try what it will do, when I cultivate it with devotion as 
a pursuit." 

The resolution, thus suddenly aroused within me, heaved a 
load from off my heart. I felt a confidence in it from the very 
place where it was formed. It seemed as though my mother's 
spirit whispered it to me from her grave. " 1 will henceforth," 
said I, " endeavor to be all that she fondly imagined me. I 
will endeavor to act as if she were witness of my actions. I will 
endeavor to acquit myself in such manner, that when I revisit 
her grave there may, at least, be no compunctious bitterness in 
my tears." 

I bowed down and kissed the turf in solemn attestation of 
my vow. I plucked some primroses that were growing there 
and laid them next my heart. 1 left the church-yard with my 
spirits once more lifted up, and set out a third time for London, 
in the character of an author. 



Here my companion made a pause, and I waited in anxious 
suspense ; hoping to have a whole volume of literary life 
unfolded to me. He seemed, however, to have sunk iuto a tit 
of pensive musing ; and when after some time I gently roused 
him by a question or two as to his literary career, " No," said 
he, smiling, "over that part of my story I wish to leave a 
cloud. Let the mysteries of the craft rest sacred for me. Let 
those who have never adventured into the republic of letters, 
still look upon it as a fairy land. Let them suppose the author 
the very being they picture him from his works ; I am not the 
man to mar their illusion. I am not the mail to hint, while one 



THE BOOBY SQUIRE. 133 

is admiring the silken web of Persia, that it has been spun from 
the entrails of a miserable worm." 

" Well," said I, " if you will tell me nothing of your literary 
history, let me know at least if you have had any farther intel- 
ligence from Doubting Castle." 

u Willingly," replied he, "though I have but little to com- 
municate." 



THE BOOBY SQUIRE. 

A LONG time elapsed, said Buckthorne, without my receiving 
any accounts of my cousin and his estate. Indeed, I felt so 
much soreness on the subject, that 1 wished, if possible, to shut 
it from my thoughts. At length chance took rne into that part 
of the country, and I could not refrain from making some 
inquiries. 

I learnt that my cousin had grown up ignorant, self-willed, 
and clownish. His ignorance and clownishness had prevented 
his mingling with the neighboring gentry. In spite of his great 
fortune he had been unsuccessful in an attempt to gain the 
hand of the daughter of the parson, and had at length shrunk 
into the limits of such society as a mere man of wealth can 
gather in a country neighborhood. 

He kept horses and hounds and a roaring table, at which 
were collected the loose livers of the country round, and the 
shabby gentlemen of a village in the vicinity. When he could 
get no other company he would smoke and drink with his own 
servants, who in their turns fleeced and despised him. Still, 
with all this apparent prodigality, he had a leaven of the old 
man in him, which showed that he was his true-born son. He 
lived far within his income, was vulgar in his expenses, and 
penurious on many points on which a gentleman would be 
extravagant. His house servants were obliged occasionally to 
work on the estate, and part of the pleasure grounds were 
ploughed up and devoted to husbandry. 

His table, though plentiful, was coarse ; his liquors strong and 
bad ; and more ale and whiskey were expended in his establish- 
ment than generous wine. He was loud and arrogant at his own 
table, and exacted a rich man's homage from his vulgar and 
obsequious guests. 

As to Iron John, his old grandfather, he had grown impatient 
of the tight hand his own grandson kept over him, and quar* 



184 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

> 

relied with him soon after he came to the estate. The old man 
had retired to a neighboring village where he lived on the legacy 
of his late master, in a small cottage, and was as seldom seen 
out of it as a rat out of his hole in daylight. 

The cub, like Caliban, seemed to have an instinctive attach- 
ment to his mother. She resided with him ; but, from long 
habit, she acted more as servant than as mistress of the man- 
sion ; for she toiled in all the domestic drudgery, and was of tener 
in the kitchen than the parlor. Such was the information which 
I collected of my rival cousin, who had so unexpectedly elbowed 
me out of all my expectations. 

I now felt an irresistible hankering to pay a visit to this 
scene of my boyhood ; and to get a peep at the odd kind of life 
that was passing within the mansion of my maternal ancestors. 
I determined to do so in disguise. My booby cousin had never 
seen enough of me to be very familiar with my countenance, 
and a few years make great difference between youth and man- 
hood. I understood he was a breeder of cattle and proud of his 
stock. I dressed myself, therefore, as a substantial fanner, and 
with the assistance of a red scratch that came low down on my 
forehead, made a complete change in my physiognomy. 

It was past three o'clock when I arrived at the gate of the 
park, and was admitted by an old woman, who was washing in 
a dilapidated building which had once been a porter's lodge. 
I advanced up the remains of a noble avenue, many of the trees 
of which had been cut down and sold for timber. The grounds 
were in scarcely better keeping than during my uncle's lifetime. 
The grass was overgrown with weeds, and the trees wanted 
pruning and clearing of dead branches. Cattle were grazing 
about the lawns, and ducks and geese swimming in the fish- 
ponds. 

The road to the house bore very few traces of carriage wheels, 
as my cousin received few visitors but such as came on foot or 
on horseback, and never used a carriage himself. Once, indeed, 
as I was told, he had had the old family carriage drawn out 
from among the dust and cobwebs of the coach-house and fur- 
bished up, and had drove, with his mother, to the village church 
to take formal possession of the family pew ; but there was 
such hooting and laughing after them as they passed through 
the village, and such giggling and bantering about the church 
door, that the pageant had never made a reappearance. 

As I approached the house, a legion of whelps sallied out 
barking at me, accompanied by the low howling, rather than 
barking, of two old worn-out bloodhounds, which I recognized 



THE BOOBY SQUIRE. 185 

for the ancient life-guards of my uncle. The house had still a 
neglected, random appearance, though much altered for the bet- 
ter since my last visit. Several of the windows were broken 
and patched up with boards ; and others had been bricked up to 
save taxes. 1 observed smoke, however, rising from the chim- 
neys ; a phenomenon rarely witnessed in the ancient establish- 
ment. On passing that part of the house where the dining-room 
was situated, 1 heard the sound of boisterous merriment ; where 
three or four voices were talking at once, and oaths and laugh- 
ter were horribly mingled. 

The uproar of the dogs had brought a servant to the door, a 
tall, hard-fisted country clown, witli a livery coat put over the 
under-garments of a ploughman. I requested to see the master 
of the house, but was told he was at dinner with some " gem- 
men'* of the neighborhood. I made known my business and 
sent in to know if 1 might talk with the master about his cattle ; 
for I felt a great desire to have a peep at him at his orgies. 
Word was returned that he was engaged with company, and 
could not attend to business, but that if I would "step in and 
take a drink of something, 1 was heartily welcome." I accord- 
ingly entered the hall, where whips and hats of all kinds and 
shapes were lying on an oaken table, two or three clownish ser- 
vants were lounging about ; every thing had a look of confusion 
and carelessness. 

The apartments through which I passed had the same air of 
departed gentility aud sluttish housekeeping. The once rich 
curtains were faded and dusty ; the furniture greased and tar- 
nished. On entering the dining-room I found a number of odd, 
vulgar-looking, rustic gentlemen seated round a table, on which 
were bottles, decanters, tankards, pipes, and tobacco. Several 
dogs were lying about the room, or sitting and watching their 
masters, and one was gnawing a bone under a side-table. 

The master of the feast sat at the head of the board. He was 
greatly altered. He had grown thick-set and rather gummy, 
with a fiery, foxy head of hair. There was a singular mixture 
of foolishness, airogance, and conceit in his countenance. He 
was dressed in a vulgarly fine style, with leather breeches, a 
red waistcoat, and green coat, and was evidently, like his 
guests, a little flushed with drinking. The whole company 
stared at me with a whimsical muggy look, like men whose 
senses were a little obfuscated by beer rather than wine. 

My cousin, (God forgive me ! the appellation sticks in my 
throat,) my cousin invited me with awkward civility, or, as 
he intended it, condescension, to sit to the table and drink. 



136 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

We talked, as usual, about the weather, the crops, politics, and 
hard times. My cousin was a loud politician, and evidently 
accustomed to talk without contradiction at his own table. He 
was amazingly loyal, and talked of standing by the throne to 
the last guinea, "as every gentleman of fortune should do." 
The village exciseman, who was half asleep, could just ejacu- 
late, "very true," to every thing he said. 

The conversation turned upon cattle ; he boasted of his breed, 
his mode of managing it, and of the general management of 
his estate. This unluckily drew on a history of the place and 
of the family. He spoke of my late uncle with the greatest 
irreverence, which I could easily forgive. He mentioned my 
name, and my blood l>egan to boil. He described my frequent 
visits to my uncle when I was a lad, and I found the varlet, 
even at that time, imp as he was, had known that he was to 
inherit the estate. 

He described the scene of my uncle's death, and the opening 
of the will, with a degree of coarse humor that I had not 
expected from him, and, vexed as I was, I could not help 
joining in the laugh, for I have always relished a joke, even 
though made at my own expense. He went on to speak of my 
various pursuits ; my strolling freak, and that somewhat nettled 
me. At length he talked of my parents. He ridiculed my 
father; I stomached even that, though with great difficulty. 
He mentioned my mother with a sneer and in an instant he 
lay sprawling at my feet. 

Here a scene of tumult succeeded. The table was nearly 
overturned. Bottles, glasses, and tankards, rolled crashing 
and clattering about the floor. The company seized hold of 
both of us to keep us from doing farther mischief. I struggled 
to get loose, for 1 was boiling with fury. My cousin defied me 
to strip and fight him on the lawn. I agreed ; for I felt the 
strength of a giant in me, and I longed to pommel him soundly. 

Away then we were borne. A ring was formed. I had a 
second assigned me in true boxing style. My cousin, as he 
advanced to fight, said something about his generosity in show- 
ing me such fair play, when I had made such an unprovoked 
attack upon him at his own table. 

" Stop there ! " cried I, in a rage " unprovoked ! know 
that I am John Buckthorne, and you have insulted the memory 
of my mother." 

The lout was suddenly struck by what I said. He drew 
back and reflected for a moment. 

"Nay, damn it," said he, "that's too much that's clear 



THE STROLLING MANAGER. 137 

another thing. I've a mother myself, and no one shall speak 
ill of her, bad as she is." 

He paused again. Nature seemed to have a rough struggle 
in his rude bosom. 

"Damn it, cousin," cried he, "I'm sorry for what I said. 
Thou'st served me right in knocking me down, and I like tiiee 
the better for it. Here's my hand. Come and live with me, 
and damme but the best room in the house, and the best horse 
in the stable, shall be at thy service." 

I declare to you I was strongly moved at this instance of 
nature breaking her way through such a lump of flesh. I 
forgave the fellow in a moment all his crimes of having been 
born in wedlock and inheriting my estate. I shook the hand 
he offered me, to convince him that I bore him no ill will ; and 
then making my way through the gaping crowd of toad-eaters, 
bade adieu to my uncle's domains forever. This is the last I 
have seen or heard of my cousin, or of the domestic concerns 
of Doubting Castle. 



THE STROLLING MANAGER. 

As I was walking one morning with Buckthorne, near one 
of the principal theatres, he directed my attention to a group of 
those equivocal beings that may often be seen hovering al>out 
the stage-doors of theatres. They were marvellously ill-favored 
in their attire, their coats buttoned up to their chins ; yet they 
wore their hats smartly on one side, and had a certain knowing, 
dirty-gentlemanlike air, which is common to the subalterns of the 
drama. Buckthorne knew them well by early experience. 

These, said he, are the ghosts of departed kings and heroes ; 
fellows who sway sceptres and truncheons; command kingdoms 
and armies ; and after giving way realms and treasures over 
night, have scarce a shilling to pay for a breakfast in the morn- 
ing. Yet they have the true vagabond abhorrence of all useful 
and industrious employment ; and they have their pleasures too : 
one of which is to lounge in this way in the sunshine, at the 
stage-door, during rehearsals, and make hackneyed theatrical 
jokes on all passers-by. 

Nothing is more traditional and legitimate than the stage. 
Old scenery, old clothes, old sentiments, old ranting, and old 
jokes, are handed down from generation to generation ; and will 
probably continue to be so, until time shall be no more. Every 
hanger-on of a theatre becomes a wag by inheritance, and flour- 



138 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

ishes about at tap-rooms and six-penny clubs, with the property 
jokes of the green-room. 

While amusing ourselves with reconnoitring this group, we 
noticed one in particular who appeared to be the oracle. He 
was a weather beaten veteran, a little bronzed by time and beer, 
who had, no doubt, grown gray in the parts of robbers, cardinals, 
Roman senators, and walking noblemen. 

" There's something in the set of that hat, and the turn of 
that physiognomy, that is extremely familiar to me," said Buck- 
thorne. He looked a little closer. "I cannot be mistaken," 
added he, u that must be my old brother of the truncheon, Flim- 
sey, the tragic hero of the strolling company." 

It was he in fact. The poor fellow showed evident signs that 
times went hard with him ; he was so finely and shabbily dressed. 
His coat was somewhat threadbare, and of the Lord Towuly 
cut ; single-breasted, and scarcely capable of meeting in front 
of his body ; which, from long intimacy, had acquired the sym- 
metry and robustness of a beer-barrel. He wore a pair of dingy 
white stockinet pantaloons, which had much ado to reach his 
waistcoat ; a great quantity of duty cravat ; and a pair of old 
russet- colored tragedy boots. 

When his companions had dispersed, Buckthorne drew him 
aside and made himself known to him. The tragic veteran could 
scarcely recognize him, or believe that he was really his quon- 
dam associate fc ' little gentleman Jack." Buckthorne invited him 
to a neighboring coffee-house to talk over old times ; and in the 
course of a little while we were put in possession of his history 
in brief. 

He had continued to act the heroes in the strolling company 
for some time after Buckthorne had left it, or rather had been 
driven from it so abruptly. At length the manager died, and 
the troop was thrown into confusion. Every one aspired to the 
crown ; every one was for taking the lead ; and the manager's 
widow, although a tragedy queen, and a brimstone to boot, pro- 
nounced it utterly impossible to keep any control over such a 
set of tempestuous rascallions. 

Upon this hint I spoke, said Fhmsey I stepped forward, 
and offered my services in the most effectual way. They were 
accepted. In a week's time I married the widow and succeeded 
to the throne, " The funeral haked meats did coldly furnish 
forth the marriage table," as Hamlet says. But the ghost of 
my predecessor never haunted me ; and I inherited crowns, scep- 
tres, bowls, daggers, and all the stage trappings and trumpery, 
not omitting the widow, without the least molestation. 



THE STROLLING MANAGE*. 139 

I now led a flourishing life of it ; for our company was pretty 
strong and attractive, and as my wife and I took the heavy 
parts of tragedy, it was a great saving to the treasury. Wo 
carried off the palm from all the rival shows at country fairs ; 
and I assure you we have even drawn full houses, and been ap- 
plauded by the critics at Batlemy fair itself, though we had 
Astley's troop, the Irish giant, and "the death of Nelson " in 
wax-work to contend against. 

I soon began to experience, however, the cares of command. 
I discovered that there were cabals breaking out in the company, 
headed by the clown, who you may recollect was a terribly pee- 
vish, fractious fellow, and always in ill-humor. I had a great 
mind to turn him off at once, but I could not do without him, 
for there was not a droller scoundrel on the stage. His very 
shape was comic, for he had but to turn his back upon the audience 
and all the ladies were ready to die with laughing. He felt his 
importance, and took advantage of it. He would keep the au- 
dience in a continual roar, and then come behind the scenes and 
fret and fume and play the very devil. 1 excused a great deal 
in him, however, knowing that comic actors are a little prone 
to this infirmity of temper. 

1 had another trouble of a nearer and dearer nature to strug- 
gle with ; which was, the affection of my wife. As ill luck 
would have it, she took it into her head to be very fond of me, 
and became intolerably jealous. I could not keep a pretty girl 
in the company, and hardly dared embrace an ugly one, even 
when my part required it. I have known her to reduce a fine 
lady to tatters, " to ver} 7 rags," as Hamlet says, in an instant, 
and destroy one of the very best dresses in the wardrobe ; 
merely because she saw me kiss her at the side scenes ; though 
I give you my honor it was done merely by way of rehearsal. 

This was doubly annoying, because I have a natural liking 
to pretty faces, and wish to have them about me ; and because 
they are indispensable to the success of a company at a fair, 
where one has to vie with so many rival theatres. But when 
once a jealous wife gets a freak in her head there's no use in 
talking of interest or any thing else. Egad, sirs, I have more 
than once trembled when, during a fit of her tantrums, she was 
playing high tragedy, and flourishing her tin dagger on the 
stage, lest she should give way to her humor, and stab some 
fancied rival in good earnest., 

I went on better, however, than could be expected, consider- 
ing the weakness of my flesh and the violence of my rib. I 
had not a much worse time of it than old J upiter, whose spouse 



140 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

was continually ferreting out some new intrigue and making 
the heavens almost too hot to hold him. 

At length, as luck would have it, we were performing at a 
country fair, when I understood the theatre of a neighboring 
town to be vacant. I had always been desirous to be enrolled 
in a settled company, and the height of ray desire was to get 
on a par with a brother-in-law, who was manager of a regular 
theatre, and who had looked down upon me. Here was an 
opportunity not to be neglected. I concluded an agreement 
with the proprietors, and in a few days opened the theatre with 
great eclat. 

Behold me now at the summit of my ambition, " the high 
top-gallant of my joy," as Romeo says. No longer a chieftain 
of a wandering tribe, but the monarch of a legitimate throne 
and entitled to call even the great potenates of Co vent Garden 
and Drury Lane cousin. 

You no doubt think my happiness complete. Alas, sir ! I was 
one of the most uncomfortable dogs living. No one knows, 
who has not tried, the miseries of a manager ; but above all, of 
a country management no one can conceive the contentions 
and quarrels within doors, the oppressions and vexations from 
without. 

I was pestered with the bloods and loungers of a country 
town, who infested my green-room, and played the mischief 
among my actresses. But there was no shaking them off. It 
would have been ruin to affront them ; for, though troublesome 
friends, they would have been dangerous enemies. Then there 
were the village critics and village amateurs, who were con- 
tinually tormenting me with advice, and getting into a passion 
if 1 would not take it : especially the village doctor and the 
village attorney ; who had both been to London occasionally, 
and knew what acting should be. 

1 had also to manage as arrant a crew of scapegraces as were 
ever collected together within the walls of a theatre. I had 
been obliged to combine iny original troop with some of the 
former troop of the theatre, who were favorites with the pub- 
lie. Here was a mixture that produced perpetual ferment. 
They were all the time either fighting or frolicking with each 
other, and I scarcely knew which mood was least troublesome. 
If they quarrelled, every thing went wrong ; and if they were 
friends, they were continually playing off some confounded 
prank upon each other, or upon me; for I had unhappily 
acquired among them the character of an easy, good-natured 
fellow, the worst character that a manager can possess. 



THE STROLLING MANAGED. Ill 

Their waggery at times drove me almost crazy ; for there is 
nothing so vexatious as the hackneyed tricks and hoaxes and 
pleasantries of a veteran band of theatrical vagabonds. I 
relished them well enough, it is true, while I was merely one 
of the company, but as manager I found them detestable. 
They were incessantly bringing some disgrace upon the theatre 
by their tavern frolics, and their pranks about the country 
town. All my lectures upon the importance of keeping up the 
dignity of the profession, and the respectability of the com- 
pany, were in vain. The villains could not sympathize with 
the delicate feelings of a man in station. They even trifled 
with the seriousness of stage business. I have had the whole 
piece interrupted, and a crowded audience of at least twenty- 
five pounds kept waiting, because the actors had hid away the 
breeches of Rosalind, and have known Harnlet stalk solemnly 
on to deliver his soliloquy, with a dish-clout pinned to his skirts. 
Such are the baleful consequences of a manager's getting a char- 
acter for good nature. 

I was intolerably annoyed, too, by the great actors who came 
down starring, as it is called, from London. Of all baneful 
influences, keep me from that of a London star. A first-rate 
actress going the rounds of the country theatres, is as bad as 
a blazing comet, whisking about the heavens, and shaking fire, 
and plagues, and discords from its tail. 

The moment one of these " heavenly bodies" appeared on 
my horizon, I was sure to be in hot water. My theatre was 
over-run by provincial dandies, copper- washed counterfeits of 
Bond-street loungers ; who are always proud to be in the train 
of an actress from town, and anxious to be thought on exceed- 
ing good terms with her. It was really a relief to me when 
some random 3 r oung nobleman would come in pursuit of the 
bait, and awe all this small fry to a distance. I have always 
felt myself more at ease with a nobleman than with the dandy 
of a country town. 

And then the injuries I suffered in my personal dignity 
and my managerial authority from the visits of these great 
London actors. Sir, I was no longer master of myself or my 
throne. I was hectored and lectured in my own green-room, 
and made an absolute nincompoop on my own stage. There is 
no tyrant so absolute and capricious as a London star at a 
country theatre. 

I dreaded the sight of all of them ; and yet if I did not 
engage them, 1 was sure of having the public clamorous against 
me. They drew full houses, and appeared to be making uiy 



142 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

fortune ; but they swallowed up all the profits by their insatiable 
demands. They were absolute tape-worms to my little theatre ; 
the more it took in, the poorer it grew. They were sure to 
leave me with an exhausted public, empty benches, and a score 
or two of affronts to settle among the townsfolk, in consequence 
of misunderstandings about the taking of places. 

But the worst thing I had to undergo in my managerial 
career was patronage. Oh, sir, of all things deliver me from 
the patronage of the great people of a country town. It was 
my ruin. You must know that this town, though small, was 
filled with feuds, and parties, and great folks ; being a busy 
little trading and manufacturing town. The mischief was, 
that their greatness was of a kind not to be settled by reference 
to the court calendar, or college of heraldry. Jt was therefore 
the most quarrelsome kind of greatness in existence. You 
smile, sir, but let me tell you there are no feuds more furious 
than the frontier feuds, which take place on these "debatable 
lands " of gentility. The most violent dispute that I ever 
knew in high life, was one that occurred at a country town, on 
a question of precedence between the ladies of a manufacturer 
of pins and a manufacturer of needles. 

At the town where I was situated there were perpetual 
altercations of the kind. The head manufacturer's lady, for 
instance, was at daggers-drawings with the head shopkeeper's, 
and both were too rich and had too many friends to be treated 
lightly. The doctor's and lawyer's ladies held their heads still 
higher ; but they in their turn were kept in check by the wife 
of a country banker, who kept her own carriage ; while a mas- 
culine widow of cracked character, and second-hand fashion, 
who lived in a large house, and was in some way related to 
nobility, looked down upon them all. She had been exiled 
from the great world, but here she ruled absolute. To be sure 
her manners were not over-elegant, nor her fortune over-large ; 
but then, sir, her blood oh, her blood carried it all hollow, 
there was no withstanding a woman with such blood in her 
veins. 

After all, she had frequent battles for precedence at balls 
and assemblies, with some of the sturdy dames of the neighbor- 
hood, who stood upon their wealth and their reputations ; but 
then she had two dashing daughters, who dressed as fine as 
dragons, and had as high blood as their mother, and seconded 
her in every thing. So they carried their point with high heads, 
and everybody hated, abused, and stood in awe of the Fan- 
tadlins. 



THE STROLLING MANAGER. 143 

Such was the state of the fashionable world in this self- 
important little town. Unluckily 1 was not as well acquainted 
with its politics as I should have been. I had found myself 
a stranger and in great perplexities during my first season ; I 
determined, therefore, to put myself under the patronage of 
some powerful name, and thus to take the field with the preju- 
dices of the public in my favor. I cast round my thoughts 
for the purpose, and in an evil hour they fell upon Mrs. Fan- 
tadlin. No one seemed to me to have a more absolute sway in 
the world of fashion. 1 had always noticed that her party 
slammed the box door the loudest at the theatre ; had most 
beaux attending on them ; and talked and laughed loudest 
during the performance ; and then the Miss Fautadlins wore 
always more feathers and flowers than any other ladies ; and 
used quizzing glasses incessantly. The first evening of my 
theatre's reopening, therefore, was announced in flaring capi- 
tals on the play bills, u under the patronage of the Honorable 
Mrs. Fantadlin." 

Sir, the whole community flew to arms ! The banker's wife 
felt her dignity grievously insulted at not having the preference ; 
her husband being high bailiff, and the richest man in the 
place. She immediately issued invitations for a large party, 
for the night of the performance, and asked many a lady to it 
whom she never had noticed before. The fashionable world 
had long groaned under the tyranny of the Fantadlins, and 
were glad to make a common cause against this new instance 
of assumption. Presume to patronize the theatre ! insufferable ! 
Those, too, who had never before been noticed by the banker's 
lady, were ready to enlist in any quarrel, for the honor of her 
acquaintance. All minor feuds were therefore forgotten. The 
doctor's lady and the lawyer's lady met together; and the 
manufacturer's lady and the shopkeeper's lady kissed each 
other, and all, headed by the banker's lady, voted the theatre 
a bore, and determined to encourage nothing but the Indian 
Jugglers, and Mr. Walker's Eidonianeon. 

Alas for poor Pillgarlick ! I little knew the mischief that 
was brewing against me. My box book remained blank. The 
evening arrived, but no audience. The music struck up to 
a tolerable pit and gallery, but no fashionables ! I peeped 
anxiously from behind the curtain, but the time passed away ; 
the play was retarded until pit and gallery became furious ; 
and I had to raise the curtain, and play my greatest part in 
tragedy to " a beggarly account of empty boxes." 

It is true the Fantadlins came late, as was their custom, and 



144 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

entered like a tempest, with a flutter of feathers and red shawls ; 
but they were evidently disconcerted at finding they had no 
one to admire and envy them, and were enraged at this glaring 
defection of their fashionable followers. All the beau-monde 
were engaged at the banker's lady's rout. They remained for 
some time in solitary and uncomfortable state, and though they 
had the theatre almost to themselves, yet, for the first time, 
they talked in whispers. They left the house at the end of the 
first piece, and I never saw them afterwards. 

Such was the rock on which I split. I never got over the 
patronage of the Fantadlin family. It became the vogue to 
abuse the theatre and declare the performers shocking. An 
equestrian troop opened a circus in the town about the same 
time, and rose on my ruins. My house was deserted ; my 
actors grew discontented because they were ill paid ; my door 
became a hammering-place for every bailiff in the county ; and 
my wife became more and more shrewish and tormenting, the 
more I wanted comfort. 

The establishment now became a scene of confusion and 
peculation. I was considered a ruined man. and of course fair 
game for every one to pluck at, as every one plunders a sinking 
ship. Day after day some of the troop deserted, aud like 
deserting soldiers, carried off their arms and accoutrements 
with them. In this manner my wardrobe took legs and walked 
away ; my finery strolled all over the country ; my swords and 
daggers glittered in every barn ; until at last my tailor made 
4 'one fell swoop," and carried off three dress coats, half a 
dozen doublets, and nineteen pair of flesh-colored pantaloons. 

This was the " be all and the end all " of my fortune. I no 
longer hesitated what to do. Egad, thought I, since stealing is 
the order of the day, I'll steal too. So I secretly gathered 
together the_jewels of my wardrobe ; packed up a hero's dress 
in a handkerchief, slung it on the end of a tragedy sword, and 
quietly stole off at dead of night " the bell then beating 
one," leaving my queen and kingdom to the mercy of my 
rebellious subjects, and my merciless foes, the bum-bailiffs. 

Such, sir, was the "end of all my greatness." I was 
heartily cured of all passion for governing, and returned once 
more into the ranks. I had for some time the usual run of an 
actor's life. 1 played in various country theatres, at fairs, and 
in barns ; sometimes hard pushed ; sometimes flush, until on 
one occasion I came within an ace of making my fortune, and 
becoming one of the wonders of the age. 

I was playing the part of Richard the Third in a country 



THE STROLLING MANAGES. 145 

<> * 

barn, and absolutely " out-Heroding Herod." An agent of 
one of the great London theatres was present. He was on the 
lookout for something that might be got up as a prodigy. The 
theatre, it seems, was in desperate condition nothing but a 
miracle could save it. He pitched upon me for that miracle. 
I had a remarkable bluster in my style, and swagger in my 
gait, and having taken to drink a little during my troubles, 
my voice was somewhat cracked ; so that it seemed like two 
voices run into one. The thought struck the agent to bring 
me out as a theatrical wonder ; as the restorer of natural and 
legitimate acting ; as the only one who could understand and 
act Shakspeare rightly. He waited upon me the next morning, 
and opened his plan. I shrunk from it with becoming modesty ; 
for well as I thought of myself, 1 felt myself unworthy of such 
praise. 

" 'Sblood, man!" said he, "no praise at all. You don't 
imagine that I think you all this. I only want the public to 
think so. Nothing so easy as gulling the public if you only set 
up a prodigy. " You need not try to act well, you must only act 
furiously. No matter what you do, or how you act, so that it 
be but odd and strange. We will have all the pit packed, and 
the newspapers hired. Whatever you do different from famous 
actors, it shall be insisted that you are right and they were 
wrong. If you rant, it shall be pure passion ; if you are vulgar, 
it shall be a touch of nature. Every one shall be prepared to 
fall into raptures, and shout and yell, at certain points which 
you shall make. If you do but escape pelting the first night, 
your fortune and the fortune of the theatre is made/' 

I set off for London, therefore, full of new hopes. I was to 
be the restorer of Shakspeare and nature, and the legitimate 
drama ; my very swagger was to be heroic, and my cracked 
voice the standard of elocution. Alas, sir ! my usual luck at- 
tended me. Before I arrived in the metropolis, a rival wonder 
had appeared. A woman who could dance the slack rope, and 
run up a cord from the stage to the gallery with fire-works all 
round her. She was seized on by the management with 
avidity ; she was the saving of the great national theatre for 
the season. Nothing was talked of but Madame Saqui's fire- 
works and flame-colored pantaloons ; and nature, Shakspeare, 
the legitimate drama, and poor Pillgarlick were completely left 
in the lurch. 

However, as the manager was in honor bound to provide for 
me, he kept his word. It had been a turn-up of a die whether 
1 should be Alexander the Great or Alexander the copper- 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

smith ; the latter carried it. I could not be put at the head of 
the drama, so I was put at the tail. In other words, 1 was 
enrolled among the number of what are called useful men ; who, 
let me tell you, are the only comfortable actors on the stage. 
We are safe from hisses and below the hope of applause. We 
fear not the success of rivals, nor dread the critic's pen. So long 
as we get the words of our parts, and they are not often many, 
it is all we care for. We have our own merriment, our own 
friends, and our own admirers ; for every actor has his friends 
and admirers, from the highest to the lowest. The first-rate 
actor dines with the noble amateur, and entertains a fashion- 
able table with scraps and songs and theatrical slip-slop. The 
second-rate actors have their second-rate friends and admirers, 
With whom they likewise spout tragedy and talk slip-slop ; and 
so down even to us ; who have our friends and admirers among 
spruce clerks and aspiring apprentices, who treat us to a dinner 
now and then, and enjoy at tenth hand the same scraps and 
songs and slip-slop that have been served up by our more 
fortunate brethren at the tables of the great. 

I now, for the first time in my theatrical life, know what 
true pleasure is. I have known enough of notoriety to pity the 
poor devils who are called favorites of the public. I would 
rather be a kitten in the arms of a spoiled child, to be one 
moment petted and pampered, and the next moment thumped 
over the head with the spoon. I smile, too, to see our leading 
actors, fretting themselves with envy and jealousy about a 
trumpery renown, questionable in its quality and uncertain in 
its duration. I laugh, too, though of course in my sleeve, at 
the bustle and importance and trouble and perplexities of our 
manager, who is harassing himself to death in the hopeless 
effort to please everybody. 

1 have found among my fellow subalterns two or three quon- 
dam managers, who, like myself, have wielded the sceptres of 
country theatres ; and we have many a sly joke together at 
the expense of the manager and the public. Sometimes, too, 
we meet like deposed and exiled kings, talk over the events of 
our respective reigns ; moralize over a tankard of ale, and laugh 
at the humbug of the great and little world ; which, I take it, is 
the very essence of practical philosophy. 



Thus end the anecdotes of Buckthorne and his friends. A 
few mornings after our hearing the history of the ex-manager, 
he bounced into my room before I was out of bed. 



THE STROLLING MANAGER. 147 

" Give me joy ! give me joy ! " said he, rubbing his hands 
with the utmost glee, u my great expectations are realized ! " 

I stared at him with a look of wonder and inquiry. "My 
booby cousin is dead ! " cried he, " may he rest in peace ! He 
nearly broke his neck in a fall from his horse in a fox-chase. 
By good luck he lived long enough to make his will. He has 
made me his heir, partly out of an odd feeling of retributive 
justice, and partly because, as he says, none of his own family 
or friends know how to enjoy such an estate. I'm off to the 
country to take possession; I've done with authorship. That 
for the critics ! " said he, snapping his fingers. " Come down 
to Doubting Castle when 1 get settled, and egad ! I'll give you 
a rouse." So saying he shook me heartily by the hand and 
bounded off in high spirits. 

A long time elapsed before I heard from him again. Indeed, 
it was but a short time since that I received a letter written in 
the happiest of moods. He was getting the estate into fine order, 
every thing went to his wishes, and what was more, he was mar- 
ried to Sacharissa : who, it seems, had always entertained an 
ardent though secret attachment for him, which he fortunately 
discovered just after coming to his estate. 

" I find," said he, " you are a little given to the sin of author- 
ship which I renounce. If the anecdotes I have given you of 
my story are of any interest, you may make use of them ; but 
come down to Doubting Castle and see how we live, and I'll 
give you my whole London life over a social glass ; and a rat- 
tling history it shall be about authors and reviewers." 



If ever I visit Doubting Castle, and get the history he prom- 
ises, the public shall be sure to hear of it. 



PART THIRD. 
THE ITALIAN BANDITTI, 



THE INN AT TERRACINA. 

CRACK ! crack ! crack ! crack ! crack ! 

44 Here comes the estafette from Naples," said mine host of 
the inn at Terracina, 44 bring out the relay." 

The estafette came as usual galloping up the road, brandish- 
ing over his head a short-handled whip, with a long knotted 
lash ; every srnack of which made a report like a pistol. He 
was a tight square-set young fellow, in the customary uniform 
a smart blue coat, ornamented with facings and gold lace, but 
so short behind as to reach scarcely below his waistband, and 
cocked up not unlike the tail of a wren. A cocked hat, edged 
with gold lace ; a pair of stiff riding boots ; but instead of the 
usual leathern breeches he had a fragment of a pair of drawers 
that scarcely furnished an apology for modesty to hide behind. 

The estafette galloped up to the door and jumped from his 
horse. 

44 A glass of rosolio, a fresh horse, and a pair of breeches," 
said be, 44 and quickly I am behind my time, and must be off." 

44 San Genaro ! " replied the host, 44 why, where hast thou left 
thy garment?" 

44 Among the robbers between this and Fondi." 

44 What ! rob an estafette ! I never heard of such folly. What 
could they hope to get from thee? " 

44 My leather breeches ! " replied the estafette. 44 They were 
bran new, and shone like gold, and hit the fancy of the captain." 

44 Well, these fellows grow worse and worse. To meddle 
with an estafette ! And that merely for the sake of a pair of 
leather breeches ! ' ' 

The robbing of a government messenger seemed to strike the 
host with more astonishment than any other enormity that 
had taken place on the road ; and indeed it was the first time 
so wanton an outrage had been committed ; the robbers gen- 
US 



THE INN AT TERRACINA. 149 

erally taking care not to meddle with any thing belonging to 
government. 

The estafette was by this time equipped ; for he had not lost 
an instant in making his preparations while talking. The relay 
was ready : the rosolio tossed off. He grasped the reins and 
the stirrup. 

"Were there many robbers in the band?" said a hand- 
some, dark young man, stepping forward from the door of the 
inn. 

" As formidable a band as ever I saw," said the estafette, 
springing into the saddle. 

" Are they cruel to travellers?" said a beautiful young Vene- 
tian lady, who had been hanging on the gentleman's arm. 

" Cruel, signora!" echoed the estafette, giving a glance at 
the lady as lie put spurs to his horse. " Corpo del Bacco! they 
stiletto all the men, aud as to the women " 

Crack ! crack ! crack ! crack ! crack ! the last words were 
drowned in the smacking of the whip, and away galloped the 
estafette along the road to the Pontine marshes. 

" Holy Virgin ! " ejaculated the fair Venetian, " what will 
become of us ! " 

The inn of Terracina stands just outside of the walls of the 
old town of that name, on the frontiers of the Roman territory. 
A little, lazy, Italian town, the inhabitants of which, apparently 
heedless and listless, are said to be little better than the bri- 
gands which surround them, and indeed are half of them sup- 
posed to be in some way or other connected with the robbers. 
A vast, rocky height rises perpendicularly above it, with the 
ruins of the castle of Theodoric the Goth, crowning its summit ; 
before it spreads the wide bosom of the Mediterranean, that 
sea without flux or reflux. There seems an idle pause in every 
thing about this place. The port is without a sail, excepting 
that once in a while a solitary felucca may be seen, disgorging 
its holy cargo of baccala, the meagre provision for the Qua- 
resima or Lent. The naked watch towers, rising here and 
there along the coast, speak of pirates and corsairs which hover 
about these shores : while the low huts, as stations for soldiers, 
which dot the distant road, as it winds through an olive grove, 
intimate that in the ascent there is danger for the traveller and 
facility for the bandit. 

Indeed, it is between this town and Fondi that the road to 
Naples is mostly infested by banditti. It winds among rocky 
and solitary places, where the robbers are enabled to see the 
traveller from a distance from the brows of hills or impending 



160 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

precipices, and to lie in wait for him, at the lonely and difficult 
passes. 

At the time that the estafette made this sudden appearance, 
almost in cuerpo, the audacity of the robbers had risen to an 
unparalleled height. They had their spies and emissaries in 
every town, village, and osteria, to give them notice of the 
quality and movements of travellers. They did not scruple to 
send messages into the country towns and villas, demanding 
certain sums of money, or articles of dress and luxury ; with 
menaces of vengeance in case of refusal. They had plundered 
carriages; carried people of rank and fortune into the mounr 
tains and obliged them to write for heavy ransoms ; and had 
committed outrages on females who had fallen in their power. 

The police exerted it* rigor in vain. The brigands were too 
numerous and powerful for a weak police. They were counte- 
nanced and cherished by several of the villages ; and though 
now and then the limbs of malefactors hung blackening in the 
trees near which they had committed some atrocity ; or their 
heads stuck upon posts in iron cages made some dreary part of 
the road still more dreary, still they seemed to strike dismay 
into no bosom but that of the traveller. 

The dark, handsome young man, and the Venetian lady, 
whom I have mentioned, had arrived early that afternoon in a 
private carriage, drawn by mules and attended by a single 
servant. They had been recently married, were spending the 
honeymoon in travelling through these delicious countries, and 
were on their way to visit a rich aunt of the young lady's at 
Naples. 

The lady was young, and tender and timid. The stones she 
had heard along the road had filled her with apprehension, not 
more for herself than for her husband ; for though she had 
been married almost a month, she still loved him almost to 
idolatry. When she reached Terracina the rumors of the road 
had increased to an alarming magnitude ; and the sight of two 
robbers' skulls grinning in iron cages on each side of the old 
gateway of the town brought her to a pause. Her husband 
had tried in vain to reassure her. They had lingered all the 
afternoon at the inn, until it was too late to think of starting 
that evening, and the parting words of the estafette completed 
her affright. 

" Let us return to Rome," said she, putting her arm within 
her husband's, and drawing towards him as if for protection 
"let us return to Rome and give up this visit to Naples." 

give up the visit to your aunt, too? " said the husband* 



THE INN AT TEEUACINA. 151 

"Nay what is my aunt in comparison with your safety?'* 
said she, looking up tenderly in his face. 

There was something in her tone and manner that showed 
she really was thinking more of her husband's safety at that 
moment than of her own ; and being recently married, and a 
match of pure affection, too, it is very possible that she was. 
At least her husband thought so. Indeed, any one who has 
heard the sweet, musical tone of a Venetian voice, and the 
melting tenderness of a Venetian phrase, and felt the soft 
witchery of a Venetian eye, would not wonder at the husband's 
believing whatever they professed. 

He clasped the white hand that had been laid within his, put 
his arm round her slender waist, and drawing her fondly to his 
bosom " This night at least," said he, u we'll pass at Ter- 



racma. ' ' 



Crack ! crack ! crack ! crack ! crack ! 

Another apparition of the road attracted the attention of 
mine host and his guests. From the road across the Pontine 
marshes, a carriage drawn by half a dozen horses, came driving 
at a furious pace the postilions smacking their whips like 
mad, as is the case when conscious of the greatness or the 
munificence of their fare. It was a landaulet, with a servant 
mounted on the dickey. The compact, highly finished, yet 
proudly simple construction of the carriage ; the quantity of 
neat, well-arranged trunks and conveniences ; the loads of box 
coats and upper benjamins on the dickey and the fresh, burly, 
gruff-looking face at the window, proclaimed at once that it 
was the equipage of an Englishman. 

u Fresh horses to Fondi," said the Englishman, as the land- 
lord came bowing to the carriage door. 

44 Would not his Excellenza alight and take some refresh- 
ment ?" 

44 No he did not mean to eat until he got to Fondi ! " 

44 But the horses will be some time in getting ready " 

u Ah that's always the case nothing but delay in this 
cursed country." 

44 If his Excellenza would only walk into the house " 

44 No, no, no ! I tell you no ! I want nothing but horses, 
and as quick as possible. John ! see that the horses are got 
ready, and don't let us be kept here an hour or two. Tell him 
if we're delayed over the time, I'll lodge a complaint with the 
postmaster." > 

John touched his hat, and set off to obey his master's orders, 
with the taciturn obedience of an English servant. He was * 



152 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

ruddy, round-faced fellow, with hair cropped close ; a short coat, 
drab breeches, and long gaiters ; and appeared to have almost 
as much contempt as his master for every thing around him. 

In the mean time the Englishman got out of the carriage and 
walked up and down before the inn, with his hands in his 
pockets : taking no notice of the crowd of idlers who were 
gazing at him and his equipage. He was tall, stout, and well 
made ; dressed with neatness and precision, wore a travelling- 
cap of the color of gingerbread, and had rather an unhappy 
expression about the corners of his mouth ; partly from not 
having yet made his dinner, and partly from not having been 
able to get on at a greater rate than seven miles an hour. 
Not that he had any other cause for haste than an English- 
man's usual hurry to get to the end of a journey ; or, to use 
the regular phrase, " to get on." 

After some time the servant returned from the stable with as 
sour a look as his master. 

" Are the horses ready, John? " 

44 No, sir I never saw such a place. There's no getting 
any thing done. I think your honor had better step into the 
house and get something to eat ; it will be a long while before 
we get to Fundy." 

n the house it's a mere trick I'll not eat any 



thing, just to spite them," said the Englishman, still more 
crusty at the prospect of being so long without his dinner. 

"They say your honor's very wrong," said John, "to set off 
at this late hour. The road's full of highwaymen." 

" Mere tales to get custom." 

"The estafette which passed us was stopped by a whole 
gang," said John, increasing his emphasis with each additional 
piece of information. 

"I don't believe a word of it." 

" They robbed him of his breeches," said John, giving at the 
same time a hitch to his own waist-band. 

" All humbug !" 

Here the dark, handsome young man stepped forward and 
addressing the Englishman very politely in broken English, 
invited him to partake of a repast he was about to make. 
"Thank'ee," said the Englishman, thrusting his hands deeper 
into his pockets, and casting a slight side glance of suspicion at 
the young man, as if he thought from his civility he must have 
a design upon his purse. 

" We shall be most happy if you will do us that favor," said 
the lady, in her soft Venetian dialect. There was a sweetness 



THE INN AT TERRACfNA. 153 

fn her accents that was most persuasive. The Englishman cast 
a look upon her countenance ; her beauty was still more elo- 
quent. His features instantly relaxed. He made an attempt 
at a civil bow. " With great pleasure, sigiiora," said he. 

In short, the eagerness to " get on " was suddenly slackened ; 
the determination to famish himself as far as Fondi by way of 
punishing the landlord was abandoned ; John chose the best 
apartment in the inn for his master's reception, and preparations 
were made to remain there until morning. 

The carriage was unpacked of such of its contents as were 
indispensable for the night. There was the usual parade of 
trunks and writing-desks, and portfolios, and dressing-boxes, 
and those other oppressive conveniences which burden a com- 
fortable man. The observant loiterers about the inn door, 
wrapped up in great dirt-colored cloaks, with only a hawk's eye 
uncovered, made many remarks to each other on this quantity 
of luggage that seemed enough for an army. And the domestics 
of the inn talked witli wonder of the splendid dressing-case, with 
its gold and silver furniture that was spread out on the toilet 
table, and the bag of gold that chinked as it was taken out of 
the trunk. The strange u Milor's " wealth, and the treasures 
he carried about him, were the talk, that evening, over all 
Terracina. 

The P^nglishman took some time to make his ablutions and 
arrange his dress for table, and after considerable labor and 
effort in putting himself at his ease, made his appearance, with 
stiff white cravat, his clothes free from the least speck of dust, 
and adjusted with precision. He made a formal bow on enter- 
ing, which no doubt he meant to be cordial, but which any one 
else would have considered cool, and took his seat. 

The supper, as it was termed by the Italian, or dinner, as the 
Englishman called it, was now served. Heaven and earth, and 
the waters under the earth, had been moved to furnish it, for 
there were birds of the air and beasts of the earth and fish of 
the sea. The Englishman's servant, too, had turned the kitchen 
topsy-turvy in his zeal to cook his master a beefsteak ; and 
made his appearance loaded with catchup, and soy, and Cayenne 
pepper, and Harvey sauce, and a bottle of port wine, from that 
warehouse, the carriage, in which his master seemed desirous of 
carrying England about the world with him. Every thing, how- 
ever, according to the Englishman, was execrable. The tureen 
of soup was a black sea, with livers and limbs and fragments of 
all kinds of birds and beasts, floating like wrecks about it. A 
meagre winged animal, which my host called a delicate chicken, 



164 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

was too delicate for his stomach, for it had evidently died of 
a consumption. The macaroni was smoked. The beefsteak was 
tough buffalo's flesh, and the countenance of mine host con- 
firmed the assertion. Nothing seemed to hit his palate but a 
dish of stewed eels, of which he ate with great relish, but had 
nearly refunded them when told that they were vipers, caught 
among the rocks of Teiracina, and esteemed a great delicacy. 

In short, the Englishman ate and growled, and ate and 
growled, like a cat eating in company, pronouncing himself 
poisoned by every dish, yet eating on in defiance of death and 
the doctor. The Venetian lady, not accustomed to English trav- 
ellers, almost repented having persuaded him to the meal ; for 
though very gracious to her, he was so crusty to all the world 
beside, that she stood in awe of him. There is nothing, how- 
ever, that conquers John Bull's crustiness sooner than eating, 
whatever may be the cookery ; and nothing brings him into good 
humor with his company sooner than eating together ; the Eng- 
lishman, therefore, had not half finished his repast and his bottle, 
before he began to think the Venetian a very tolerable fellow 
for a foreigner, and his wife almost handsome enough to be an 
Englishwoman. 

In the course of the repast the tales of robbers which har- 
assed the mind of the fair Venetian, were brought into discus- 
sion. The landlord and the waiter served up such a number of 
them as they served up the dishes, that they almost frightened 
away the poor lady's appetite. Among these was the story of 
the school of Terracina, still fresh in every mind, where the 
students were carried up the mountains by the banditti, in hopes 
of ransom, and one of them massacred, to bring the parents to 
terms for the others. There was a story also of a gentleman of 
Rome, who delayed remitting the ransom demanded for his son, 
detained by the banditti, and received one of his son's ears in a 
letter, with information that the other would be remitted to him 
soon, if the money were not forthcoming, and that in this way 
he would receive the boy by instalments until he came to 
terms. 

The fair Venetian shuddered as she heard these tales. The 
landlord, like a true story-teller, doubled the dose when he 
saw how it operated. He was just proceeding to relate the 
misfortunes of a great English lord and his family, when the 
Englishman, tired of his volubility, testily interrupted him, 
and pronounced these accounts mere traveller's tales, or the 
exaggerations of peasants and innkeepers. The landlord was 
Indignant at the doubt levelled at his stories, and the innuendo 



THE INN AT TEREACINA. 155 

levelled at his cloth ; he cited half a dozen stories still more 
terrible, to corroborate those he had already told. 

44 1 don't believe a word of them," said the Englishman. 

44 But the robbers had been tried and executed." 

44 All a farce!" 

44 But their heads were stuck up along the road." 

44 Old skulls accumulated during a century." 

The landlord muttered to himself as he went out at the door, 
44 San Genaro, come sono singolari questi Inglesi." 

A fresh hubbub outside of the inn announced the arrival 
of more travellers ; and from the variety of voices, or rather 
clamors, the clattering of horses' hoofs, the rattling of wheels, 
and the general uproar both within and without, the arrival 
seemed to be numerous. It was, in fact, the procaccio, and its 
convoy a kind of a caravan of merchandise, that sets out on 
stated days, under an escort of soldiery to protect it from the 
robbers. Travellers avail themselves of the occasion, and many 
carriages accompany the procaccio. It was a long time before 
either landlord or waiter returned, being hurried away by the 
tempest of new custom. When mine host appeared, there was 
a smile of triumph on his countenance. 44 Perhaps," said he, 
as he cleared away the table, u perhaps the signor has not 
heard of what has happened." 

44 What?" asked the Englishman, dryly. 

44 Oh, the procaccio has arrived, and has brought accounts of 
fresh exploits of the robbers, signor." 

44 Pish!" 

44 There's more news of the English Milor and his family," 
said the host, emphatically. 

44 An English lord. What English lord? " 

44 Milor Popkin." 

44 Lord Popkin? I never heard of such a title ! " 

44 Sicuro a great nobleman that passed through here 
lately with his Milady and daughters a magnifico one of 
the grand councillors of London un almanno." 

4 4 Almanno almanno ? tut ! he means alderman. ' ' 

44 Sicuro, aldermanno Popkin, and the principezza Popkin, 
and the signorina Popkin ! " said mine host, triumphantly. He 
would now have entered into a full detail, but was thwarted 
by the Englishman, who seemed determined not to credit or 
indulge him in his stories. An Italian tongue, however, is not 
easily checked : that of mine host continued to run on with 
increasing volubility as he conveyed the fragments of the repast 
out of the room, and the last that could be distinguished of his 



156 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

voice, as it died away along the corridor, was the constant 
recurrence of the favorite word Popkin Popkin Popkin 
pop -r- pop pop. 

The arrival of the procaccio had indeed filled the house with 
stories as it had with guests. The Englishman and his com- 
panions walked out after supper into the great hall, or common 
room of the inn, which runs through the centre building ; a 
gloomy, dirty-looking apartment, with tables placed in various 
parts of it, at which some of the travellers were seated in 
groups, while others strolled about in famished impatience for 
their evening's meal. As the procaccio was a kind of caravan 
of travellers, there were people of every class and country, who 
had come in ail kinds of vehicles ; and though they kept in 
some measure in separate parties, yet the being united under 
one common escort had jumbled them into companionship on 
the road. Their formidable number and the formidable guard 
that accompanied them, had prevented any molestation from 
the banditti ; but every carriage had its tale of wonder, and 
one vied with another in the recital. Not one but had seen 
groups of robbers peering over the rocks ; or their guns peeping 
out from among the bushes, or had been reconnoitred by some 
suspicious-looking fellow with scowling eye, who disappeared 
on seeing the guard. 

The fair Venetian listened to all these stories with that eager 
curiosity with which we seek to pamper any feeling of alarm. 
Even the Englishman began to feel interested in the subject, 
and desirous of gaining more correct information than these 
mere flying reports. He mingled in one of the groups which 
appeared to be the most respectable, and which was assembled 
round a tall, thin person, with long Roman nose, a high fore- 
head, and lively prominent eye, beaming from under a green 
velvet travelling-cap with gold tassel. He was holding forth 
with all the fluency of a man who talks well and likes to exert 
his talent. He was of Rome ; a surgeon by profession, a poet 
by choice, and one who was something of an improvvisatore. 
He soon gave the Englishman abundance of information 
respecting the banditti. "The fact is," said he, u that many 
of the people in the villages among the mountains are robbers* 
or rather the robbers find perfect asylum among them. They 
range over a vast extent of wild impracticable country, along 
the chain of Apennines, bordering on different states; they 
know all the difficult passes, the short cuts and strongholds. 
They are secure of the good-will of the poor and peaceful 
inhabitants of those regions, whom they never disturb* and 



THE INN AT TEKRACINA. 157 

whom they often enrich. Indeed, they are looked upon as a 
sort of illegitimate heroes among the mountain villages, and 
some of the frontier towns, where they dispose of their plunder. 
From these mountains they keep a look-out upon the plains and 
valleys, and meditate their descents. 

44 The road to Fondi, which you are about to travel, is one of 
the places most noted for their exploits. It is overlooked from 
some distance by little hamlets, perched upon heights. From 
hence, the brigands, like hawks in their nests, keep on the 
watch for such travellers as are likely to afford either booty or 
ransom. The windings of the road enable them to see carriages 
long before they pass, so that they have time to get to some 
advantageous lurking-place from whence to pounce upon their 

prey." 

4fc But why does not the police interfere and root them out? " 
said the Englishman. 

"The police is too weak and the banditti are too strong,-" 
replied the improvvisatore. "To root them out would be a 
more difficult task than you imagine. They are connected and 
identified with the people of the villages and the peasantry 
generally ; the numerous bands have an understanding with 
each other, and with people of various conditions in all parts 
of the country. They know all that is going on : a yens (Tarmes 
cannot stir without their being aware of it. They have their 
spies and emissaries in every direction ; they lurk about towns, 
villages, inns, mingle in every crowd, pervade every place of 
resort. I should not be surprised, " said he, " if some one should 
be supervising us at this moment." 

The fair Venetian looked round fearfully and turned pale. 

41 One peculiarity of the Italian banditti," continued the im- 
provvisatore, "is that they wear a kind of uniform, or rather 
costume, which designates their profession. This is probably 
done to take away from its skulking lawless character, and to 
give it something of a military air in the eyes of the common 
people ; or perhaps to catch by outward dash and show the 
fancies of the young men of the villages. These dresses or cos- 
tumes are often rich and fanciful. Some wear jackets and 
breeches of bright colors, richly embroidered ; broad belts of 
cloth ; or sashes of silk net ; broad, high-crowned hats, deco- 
rated with feathers of variously-colored ribbons, and silk nets 
for the hair. 

u Many of the robbers are peasants who follow ordinary 
occupations in the villages for a part of the year, and take to 
the mountains for the rest. Some only go out for a season, as 



168 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

It were, an a hunting expedition, and then resume the dress 
tad habits of common life. Many of the young men of the 
villages take to this kind of life occasionally from a mere love 
6f adventure, the wild, wandering spirit of youth, and the con- 
tagion of bad example ; but it is remarked that they can never 
fcfter brook a long continuance in settled life. They get fond 
of the unbounded freedom and rude license they enjoy; and 
there is something in this wild mountain life checkered by 
adventure and peril, that is wonderfully fascinating, independent 
of the gratification of cupidity by the plunder of the wealthy 
traveller. 

Here the improvvisatore was interrupted by a lively Nea- 
politan lawyer. " Your mention of the younger robbers," said 
he, " puts me in mind of an adventure of a learned doctor, a 
friend of mine, which happened in this very neighborhood." 

A wish was of course expressed to hear the adventure of the 
doctor by all except the improvvisatore, who, being fond of 
talking and of hearing himself talk, and accustomed moreover 
to harangue without interruption, looked rather annoyed at being 
checked when in full career. 

The Neapolitan, however, took no notice of his chagrin, but 
related the following anecdote. 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE LITTLE ANTIQUARY. 

MY friend the doctor was a thorough antiquary : a little, rusty, 
musty old fellow, always groping among ruins. He relished a 
building as you Englishmen relish a cheese, the more mouldy 
and crumbling it was, the more it was to his taste. A shell of 
an old nameless temple, or the cracked walls of a broken-down 
amphitheatre, would throw him into raptures ; and he took more 
delight in these crusts and cheese parings of antiquity than in 
the best-conditioned modern edifice. 

He had taken a maggot into his brain at one time to hunt after 
the ancient cities of the Pelasgi which are said to exist to this 
day among the mountains of the Abruzzi ; but the condition of 
which is strangely unknown to the antiquaries. It is said that 
he had made a great many valuable notes and memorandums on 
the subject, which he always carried about with him, either for 
the purpose of frequent reference, or because he feared the 
precious documents might fall into the hands of brother a&ti* 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE LITTLE ANTIQUARY. 159 

qnaries. He had therefore a large pocket behind, in which he 
carried them, banging against his rear as he walked. 

Be this as it may ; happening to pass a few days at Terracina, 
in the course of his researches, he one day mounted the rocky 
cliffs which overhang the town, to visit the castle of Theodoric. 
He was groping about these ruins, towards the hour of sunset, 
buried in his reflections, his wits no doubt wool-gathering 
among the Goths and Romans, when he heard footsteps behind 
him. 

He turned and beheld five or six young fellows, of rough, 
saucy demeanor, clad in a singular manner, half peasant, half 
huntsman, with fusils in their hands. Their whole appearance 
and carriage left him in no doubt into what company he had 
fallen. 

The doctor was a feeble little man, poor in look and poorer 
in purse. He had but little money in his pocket ; but he had 
certain valuables, such as an old silver watch, thick as a turnip, 
with figures on it large enough for a clock, and a set of seals at 
the end of a steel chain, that dangled half down to his knees ; 
all which were of precious esteem, being family relics. He 
had also a seal ring, a veritable antique intaglio, that covered 
half his knuckles ; but what he most valued was, the precious 
treatise on the Pelasgian cities, which he would gladly have 
given all the money in his pocket to have had safe at the bottom 
of his trunk in Terracina. 

However, he plucked up a stout heart ; at least as stout a 
heart as he could, seeing that he was but a puny little man 
at the best of times. So he wished the hunters a u buon 
gioruo." They returned his salutation, giving the old gentle- 
man a sociable slap on the back that made his heart leap into 
his throat. 

They fell into conversation, and walked for some time to- 
gether among the heights, the doctor wishing them all the while 
at the bottom of the crater of Vesuvius. At length they came 
to a small osteria on the mountain, where they proposed to enter 
and have a cup of wine together. The doctor consented ; though 
he would as soon have been invited to drink hemlock. 

One of the gang remained sentinel at the door ; the others 
swaggered into the house ; stood their fusils in a corner of the 
room ; and each drawing a pistol or stiletto out of his belt, laid 
it, with some emphasis, on the table. They now called lustily 
for wine ; drew benches round the table, and hailing the doctor 
as though he had been a boon companion of long standing, -in- 
sisted upon his sitting down and making merry. He complied 



160 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

with forced grimace, but with fear and trembling; sitting on 
the edge of his bench ; supping down heartburn with every drop 
of liquor; eying ruefully the black muzzled pistols, and cold, 
naked stilettos. They pushed the bottle bravely, and plied him 
vigorously ; sang, laughed, told excellent stories of robberies 
and combats, and the little doctor was fain to laugh at these 
cut-throat pleasantries, though his heart was dying away at the 
very bottom of his bosom. 

By their own account they were young men from the villages, 
who had recently taken up this line of life in the mere wild 
caprice of youth. They talked of their exploits as a sportsman 
talks of his amusements. To shoot down a traveller seemed of 
little more consequence to them than to shoot a hare. They 
spoke with rapture of the glorious roving life they led ; free as 
birds ; here to-day, gone to-morrow ; ranging the forests, climb- 
ing the rocks, scouring the valleys ; the world their own wherever 
they could lay hold of it ; full purses, merry companions ; pretty 
women. The little antiquary got fuddled with their talk and 
their wine, for they did not spare bumpers. He half forgot his 
fears, his seal ring, and his family watch ; even the treatise on 
the Pelasgian cities which was wanning under him, for a time 
faded from his memory, in the glowing picture which they drew. 
He declares that he no longer wonders at the prevalence of this 
robber mania among the mountains ; for he felt at the time, 
that had he been a young man and a strong man, and had there 
been no clanger of the galleys in the background, he should 
have been half tempted himself to turn bandit. 

At length the fearful hour of separating arrived. The doc- 
tor was suddenly called to himself and his fears, by seeing the 
robbers resume their weapons. He now quaked for his valu- 
ables, and above all for his antiquarian treatise. He endeav- 
ored, however, to look cool and unconcerned ; and drew from 
out of his deep pocket a long, lank, leather purse, far gone in 
consumption, at the bottom of which a few coin chinked with 
the trembling of his hand. 

The chief of the party observed this movement ; and laying 
his hand upon the antiquary's shoulder " Harkee ! Signor 
Dottore ! " said he, " we have drunk together as friends and 
comrades, let us part as such. We understand you ; we know 
who and what you are ; for we know who everybody is that 
sleeps at Terracina, or that puts foot upon the road. You are 
a rich man, but you carry all your wealth in your head. We 
can't get at it, and we should not know what to do with it, if 
we could. I see you are uneasy about your ring; but don't 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE LITTLE ANTIQUARY. 161 

worry your mind ; it is not worth taking ; you think it an 
antique, but it's a counterfeit a mere sham." 

Here the doctor would have put in a word, for his antiquarian 
pride was touched. 

44 Nay, nay," continued the other, 44 we've no time to dispute 
about it. Value it as you please. Come, you are a brave little 
old signor one more cup of wine and we'll pay the reckon- 
ing. No compliments I insist on it. So now make the 
best of your way back to Terracina ; it's growing late buono 
viaggio ! and harkee, take care how you wander among these 
mountains." 

They shouldered their fusils, sprang gayly up the rocks, and 
the little doctor hobbled back to Terracina, rejoicing that the 
robbers had let his seal ring, his watch, and his treatise escape 
unmolested, though rather nettled that they should have pro- 
nounced his veritable intaglio a counterfeit. 

The improvvisatore had shown many symptoms of impa- 
tience during this recital. He saw his theme in danger of being 
taken out of his hands by a rival story-teller, which to an able 
talker is always a serious grievance ; it was also in danger of 
being taken away by a Neapolitan, and that was still more 
vexatious ; as the members of the different Italian states have 
an incessant jealousy of each other in all things, great and small. 
He took advantage of the first pause of the Neapolitan to catch 
hold again of the thread of the conversation. 

4(1 As I was saying,"- resumed he, 4 1 the prevalence of these 
banditti is so extensive : their power so combined and inter- 
woven with other ranks of society " 

44 For that matter," said the Neapolitan, 44 I have heard that 
your government has had some understanding with these gen- 
try, or at least winked at them." 

44 My government? " said the Roman, impatiently. 

44 Ay they say that Cardinal Gonsalvi " 

44 Hush ! " said the Roman, holding up his finger, and rolling 
his large eyes about the room. 

44 Nay I only repeat what I heard commonly rumored in 
Rome," replied the other, sturdily. 44 It was whispered that 
the Cardinal had been up to the mountain, and had an inter- 
view with some of the chiefs. And I have been told that when 
honest people have been kicking their heels in the Cardinal's 
anti-chamber, waiting by the hour for admittance, one of th^se 
stiletto-looking fellows has elbowed his way through the crowd, 
and entered without ceremony into the Cardinal's presence. 

44 1 know," replied the Roman, 44 that there have been such 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

ffcporte; and it is not impossible that gbvertrment may liave 
made use of these men at particular periods, such as at the 
timfe of your abortive revolution, when your carbonari were so 
busy with their machinations all over the country. The in for- 
mation that men like these could collect, who were familiar, 
not merely with all the recesses and secret places of the moun- 
tains, but also with all the dark and dangerous recesses of so- 
ciety, and knew all that was plotting in the world of mischief ; 
the utility of such instruments in the hands of government was 
too obvious to be overlooked, and Cardinal Gonsalvi as a politic 
statesman, may, perhaps, have made use of them ; for it is well 
known the robbers, with all their atrocities, are respectful to- 
wards the church, and devout in their religion." 

44 Religion ! religion ? " echoed the Englishman. 

u Yes religion!" repeated the improvvisatore. "Scarce 
one of them but will cross himself and say his prayers when he 
fcears in his mountain fastness the matin or the Ave Maria bells 
sounding from the valleys. They will often confess themselves 
to the village priests, to obtain absolution ; and occasionally 
visit the village churches to pray at some favorite shrine. I 
recollect an instance in point : I was one evening in the village 
of Frescati, which lies below the mountains of Abruzzi. The 
people, as usual in tine evenings in our Italian towns and vil- 
lages, were standing about in groups in the public square, con- 
versing and amusing themselves. I observed a tall, muscular 
fellow, wrapped in a great mantle, passing across the square, 
but skulking along in the dark, as if avoiding notice. The 
people, too, seemed to draw back as he passed. It was whis- 
pered to me that he was a notorious bandit." 

*' But why was he not immediately seized? " said the English- 
man. 

44 Because it was nobody's business ; because nobody wished 
to incur the vengeance of his comrades ; because there were 
not sufficient gens d'armes near to insure security against the 
numbers of desperadoes he might have at hand ; because the 
gens d'armes might not have received particular instructions 
with respect to him, and might not feel disposed to engage in 
the hazardous conflict without compulsion. In short, I might 
give you a thousand reasons, rising out of the state of our 
government and manners, not one of which after all might 
appear satisfactory." 

The Englishman shrugged his shoulders with an air of con- 
tempt. 

44 1 have been told," added the feoman, rather quickly, t4 that 



THE ADVENTVEE OF THE LITTLE ANTIQUARY. 168 

even in your metropolis of London, notorious thieves, well 
known to the police as such, walk the streets at noon-day, in 
search of their prey, and are not molested unless caught in the 
very act of robbery." 

The Englishman gave another shrug, but with a different 
expression. 

u Well, sir, I fixed my eye on this daring wolf thus prowling 
through the fold, and saw him enter a church. I was curious 
to witness his devotions. You know our spacious, magnificent 
churches. The one in which he entered was vast and shrouded 
in the dusk of evening. At the extremity of the long aisles a 
couple of tapers feebly glimmered on the grand altar. In one 
of the side chapels was a votive candle placed before the image 
of a saint. Before this image the robber had prostrated him- 
self. His mantle partly falling off from his shoulders as he 
knelt, revealed a form of Herculean strength ; a stiletto and 
pistol glittered in his belt, and the light falling on his counte- 
nance showed features not unhandsome, but strongly and fiercely 
charactered. As he prayed he became vehemently agitated ; his 
lips quivered ; sighs and murmurs, almost groans burst from 
him ; he beat his breast with violence, then clasped his hands 
and wrung them convulsively as he extended them towards the 
image. Never had I seen such a terrific picture of remorse. 
I felt fearful of being discovered by him, and withdrew. 
Shortly after I saw him issue from the church wrapped in 
his mantle ; he recrossed the square, and no doubt returned to 
his mountain with disburthened conscience, ready to incur a 
fresh arrear of crime." 

The conversation was here taken up by two other travellers, 
recently arrived, Mr. Hobbs and Mr. Dobbs, a linen-draper 
and a green-grocer, just returning from a tour in Greece and 
the Holy Land : and who were full of the story of Alderman 
Popkins. They were astonished that the robbers should dare 
to molest a man of his importance on 'change ; he being an emi- 
nent dry-salter of Throgmorton street, and a magistrate to 
boot. 

In fact, the story of the Popkins family was but too true ; it 
was attested by too many present to be for a moment doubted ; 
and from the contradictory and concordant testimony of half 
a score, all eager to relate it, the company were enabled to 
make out all the particulars. 



164 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE POPKINS FAMILY. 

IT was but a few days before that the carriage of Alderman 
Popkins had driven up to the inn of Terracina. Those who 
have seen an English family carriage on the continent, must 
know the sensation it produces. It is an epitome of England ; 
a little morsel of the old island rolling about the world every 
thing so compact, so snug, so finished and fitting. The wheels 
that roll on patent axles without rattling ; the body that hangs 
so well on its springs, yielding to every motion, yet proof 
against every shock. The ruddy faces gaping out of the win- 
dows ; sometimes of a portly old citizen, sometimes of a volu- 
minous dowager, and sometimes of a fine fresh hoyden, just 
from boarding school. And then the dickeys loaded with well- 
dressed servants, beef- fed and bluff; looking down from their 
heights with contempt on all the world around ; profoundly 
ignorant of the country and the people, and devoutly certain 
that every thing not English must be wrong. 

Such was the carriage of Alderman Popkins, as it made its 
appearance at Terracina. The courier who had preceded it, to 
order horses, and who was a Neapolitan, had given a magnifi- 
cent account of the richness and greatness of his master, blun- 
dering with all an Italian's splendor of imagination about the 
alderman's titles and dignities ; the host had added his usual 
share of exaggeration, so that by the time the alderman drove 
10 to the door, he was Milor Magnifico Principe the Lord 
knows what ! 

The alderman was advised to take an escort to Fondi and 
Itri, but he refused. It was as much as a man's life was worth, 
he said, to stop him on the king's highway ; he would complain 
of it to the ambassador at Naples ; he would make a national 
affair of it. The principezza Popkius, a fresh, motherly dame, 
seemed perfectly secure in the protection of her husband, so 
omnipotent a man in the city. The signorini Popkins, two fine 
bouncing girls, looked to their brother Tom, who had taken 
lessons in boxing ; and as to the dandy himself, he was sure no 
scaramouch of an Italian robber would dare to meddle with an 
Englishman. The landlord shrugged his shoulders and turned 
out the palms of his hands with a true Italian grimace, and the 
carriage of Milor Popkins rolled on. 

They passed through several very suspicious places without 
any molestation. The Misses Popkius, who were very roman- 



THE ADVENTURE OF TUE POPKINS FAMILY. 165 

tic, and had learnt to draw in water colors, were enchanted 
with the savage scenery around ; it was so like what they had 
read in Mrs. Radcliffe's romances, they should like of all things 
to make sketches. At length, the carriage arrived at a place 
where the road wound up a long hill. Mrs. Popkins had sunk 
into a sleep ; the young ladies were reading the last works of 
Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron, and the dandy was hectoring 
the postilions from the coach box. The Alderman got out, as 
he said, to stretch his legs up the hill. It was a long winding 
ascent, and obliged him every now and then to stop and blow 
and wipe his forehead with many a pish ! and phew ! being 
rather pursy and short of wind. As the carriage, however, was 
far behind him, and toiling slowly under the weight of so many 
well-stuffed trunks and well-stuffed travellers, he had plenty of 
time to walk at leisure. 

On a jutting point of rock that overhung the road nearly at 
the summit of the hill, just where the route began again to 
descend, he saw a solitary man seated, who appeared to be 
tending goats. Alderman Popkins was one of your shrewd 
travellers that always like to be picking up small information, 
along the road, so he thought he'd just scramble up to the 
honest man, and have a little talk with him by way of learning 
the news and getting a lesson in Italian. As he drew near to 
the peasant he did not half like his looks. He was partly re- 
clining on the rocks wrapped in the usual long mantle, which, 
with his slouched hat, only left a part of a swarthy visage, 
with a keen black eye, a beetle brow, and a fierce mustache to 
be seen. He had whistled several times to his dog which was 
roving about the side of the hill. As the Alderman approached 
he rose and greeted him. When standing erect he seemed 
almost gigantic, at least in the eyes of Alderman Popkins ; who, 
however, being a short man, might be deceived. 

The latter would gladly now have been back in the carriage, 
or even on 'change in London, for he was by no means well 
pleased with his company. However, he determined to put the 
best face on matters, and was beginning a conversation about 
the state of the weather, the baddishness of the crops, and the 
price of goats in that part of the country, when he heard a vio- 
lent screaming. He ran to the edge of the rock, and, looking 
over, saw away down the road his carriage surrounded by rob- 
bers. One held down the fat footman, another had the dandy 
by his starched cravat, with a pistol to his head ; one was rum- 
maging a portmanteau, another rummaging the principezza's 
pockets, while the two Misses Popkins were screaming from 



TALKS OF A TRAVELLER. 

each window of the carriage, and their waiting maid squalling 
from tbe dickey. 

Alderman Popkins felt all the fury of the parent and the 
magistrate roused within him. He grasped his cane and was 
on the point of scrambling down the rocks, either to assault the 
robbers or to read the riot act, when he was suddenly grasped 
by the arm. It was by his friend the goatherd, whose cloak, 
falling partly off, discovered a belt stuck full of pistols and 
stilettos. In short, he found himself in the clutches of the cap- 
tain of the band, who had stationed himself on the rock to 
look out for travellers and to give notice to bis men. 

A sad ransacking took place. Trunks were turned inside 
out, and all the finery and the frippery of the Popkins family 
scattered about the road. Such a chaos of Venice l>eads 
and Roman mosaics ; and Paris bonnets of the young ladies, 
mingled with the alderman's night -caps and lamb's wool 
stockings, and the dandy's hair-brushes, stays, and starched 
cravats. 

The gentlemen were eased of their purses and their watches ; 
the ladies of their jewels, and the whole party were on the 
point of being carried up into the mountain, when fortunately 
the appearance of soldiery at a distance obliged the robbers to 
make off with the spoils they had secured, and leave the Pop- 
kins family to gather together the remnants of their effects, and 
make the best of their way to Foncli. 

When safe arrived, the alderman made a terrible blustering 
at the inn ; threatened to complain to the ambassador at Naples, 
and was ready to shake his cane at the whole country. The 
dandy had many stories to tell of his scuffles with the brigands, 
who overpowered him merely by numbers. As to the Misses 
Popkins, they were quite delighted with the adventure, and 
were occupied the whole evening in writing it in their journals. 
They declared the captain of the band to be a most romantic- 
looking man ; they dared to say some unfortunate lover, or 
exiled nobleman : and several of the band to be very handsome 
young men " quite picturesque ! " 

"In verity," said mine host of Terracina, "they say the 
captain of the band is un galant uomo. ' ' 

"A gallant man !" said the Englishman. "I'd have your 
gallant man hang'd like a dog ! " 

44 To dare to meddle with Englishmen ! " said Mr. Hobbs. 

44 And such a family as tlie Popkinses ! " said Mr. Dobbs. 

44 They ought to come upon the country for damages ! " said 
Mr. Hobbs, 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE POPKINS FAMILY. 161 

44 Our ambassador should make a complaint to the govern- 
ment of Naples, " said Mr. Dobbs. 

44 They should be requested to drive these rascals out of the 
country, " said Hobbs. 

"If they did not, we should declare war against them! " 
said Dobbs. 

The Englishman was a little wearied by this story, and by 
the ultra zeal of his countrymen, and was glad when a summons 
to their supper relieved him from a crowd of travellers. He 
walked out with his Venetian friends and a young Frenchman 
of an interesting demeanor, who had become sociable with them 
m the course of the conversation. They directed their steps 
toward the sea,, which was lit up by the rising moon. The 
Venetian, out of politeness, left his beautiful wife to be escorted 
by the Englishman. The latter, however, either from shyness 
or reserve, did not avail himself of the civility, but walked on 
without offering his arm. The fair Venetian, with all her 
devotion to her husband, was a little nettled at a want of 
gallantry to which her charms had rendered her unaccustomed* 
aud took the proffered arm of the Frenchman with a pretty air 
of pique, which, however, was entirely lost upon the phlegmatic 
delinquent. 

Not far distant from the inn they came to where there was a 
body of soldiers on the beach, encircling and guarding a number 
of galley slaves, who were permitted to refresh themselves in 
the evening breeze, and to sport and roll upon the sand. 

41 It was difficult," the Frenchman observed, " to conceive 
a more frightful mass of crime than was here collected. The 
parricide, the fratricide, the infanticide, who had first fled from 
justice and turned mountain bandit, and then, by betraying his 
brother desperadoes, had bought a commutation of punishment, 
and the privilege of wallowing on the shore for an hour a day,, 
with this wretched crew of miscreants ! " 

The remark of the Frenchman had a strong effect upon the 
company, particularly upon the Venetian lady, who shuddered 
as she cast a timid look at this horde of wretches at their 
evening relaxation. 44 They seemed," she said, " like so many 
serpents, writhing and twisting together," 

The Frenchman now adverted to the stories they had been 
listening to at the inn, adding, that if they had any further 
curiosity on the subject, he could recount an adventure which 
happened to himself among the robbers and which might give 
them some idea of the habits and manners of those beings. 
There was an air of modesty aud frankness about the Frenchr 



TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

man which had gained the good-will of the whole party, not 
even excepting the Englishman. They all gladly accepted his 
proposition ; and as they strolled slowly up and down the sea- 
shore, he related the following adventure. 



THE PAINTER'S ADVENTURE. 

I AM an historical painter by profession, and resided for 
some time in the family of a foreign prince, at his villa, about 
fifteen miles from Rome, among some of the most interesting 
scenery of Italy. It is situated on the heights of ancient Tus- 
culum. In its neighborhood are the ruins of the villas of 
Cicero, Sylla, Lucullus, Rufinus, and other illustrious Romans, 
who sought refuge here occasionally, from their toils, in the 
bosom of a soft and luxurious repose. From the midst of 
delightful bowers, refreshed by the pure mountain breeze, the 
eye looks over a romantic landscape full of poetical and histor- 
ical associations. The Albanian mountains, Tivoli, once the 
favorite residence of Horace and Maecenas ; the vast deserted 
Campagna with the Tiber running through it, and St. Peter's 
dome swelling in the midst, the monument, as it were, over 
the grave of ancient Rome. 

I assisted the prince in the researches he was making among 
the classic ruins of his vicinity. His exertions were highly suc- 
cessful. Many wrecks of admirable statues and fragments of 
exquisite sculpture were dug up ; monuments of the taste and 
magnificence that reigned in the ancient Tusculan abodes. He 
had studded his villa and its grounds with statues, relievos, vases, 
and sarcophagi, thus retrieved from the bosom of the earth. 

The mode of life pursued at the villa was delightfully serene, 
diversified by interesting occupations and elegant leisure. Every 
one passed the day according to his pleasure or occupation ; and 
we all assembled in a cheerful dinner party at sunset. It was 
on the fourth of November, a beautiful serene day, that we had 
assembled in the saloon at the sound of the first dinner-bell. 
The family were surprised at the absence of the prince's con- 
fessor. They waited for him in vain, and at length placed them- 
selves at table. They first attributed his absence to his having 
prolonged his customary walk ; and the first part of the dinner 
passed without any uneasiness. When the dessert was served, 
however, without his making his appearance, they began to fed 



THE PAINTER 9 S ADVENTURE. 169 

anxious. They feared he might have been taken ill in some 
alley of the woods ; or, that he might have fallen into the hands 
of robbers. At the interval of a small valley rose the moun- 
tains of the Abruzzi, the stronghold of banditti. Indeed, the 
neighborhood had, for some time, been infested by them ; and 
Barbone, a notorious bandit chief, had often been met prowling 
about the solitudes of Tusculum. The daring enterprises of 
these ruffians were well known ; the objects of their cupidity or 
vengeance were insecure even in palaces. As yet they had 
respected the possessions of the prince ; but the idea of such 
dangerous spirits hovering about the neighborhood was sufficient 
to occasion alarm. 

The fears of the company increased as evening closed in. 
The prince ordered out forest guards, and domestics with flam- 
beaux to search for the confessor. They had not departed long, 
when a slight noise was heard in the corridor of the ground 
floor. The family were dining on the first floor, and the re- 
maining domestics were occupied in attendance. There was no 
one on the ground floor at this moment but the housekeeper, 
the laundress, and three field laborers, who were resting them- 
selves and conversing with the women. 

I heard the noise from below, and presuming it to be occa- 
sioned by the return of the absentee, I left the table, and has- 
tened down stairs, eager to gain intelligence that might relieve 
the anxiety of the prince and princess. J had scarcely reached 
the last step, when I beheld before me a man dressed as a ban- 
dit ; a carbine in his hand, and a stiletto and pistols in his belt. 
His countenance had a mingled expression of ferocity and trepi- 
dation. He sprang upon me, and exclaimed exultingly, " Ecco 
il principe ! ' ' 

I saw at once into what hands I had fallen, but endeavored 
to summon up coolness and presence of mind. A glance to- 
wards the lower end of the corridor showed me several ruffians, 
clothed and armed in the same manner with the one who had 
seized me. They were guarding the two females and the field 
laborers. The robber, who held me firmly by the collar, de- 
manded repeatedly whether or not I were the prince. His ob- 
ject evidently was to carry off the prince, and extort an immense 
ransom He was enraged at receiving none but vague replies ; 
for I felt the importance of misleading him. 

A sudden thought struck me how I might extricate myself 
from his clutches. I was unarmed, it is true, but I was vigor- 
ous. His companions were at a distance. By a sudden exer- 
tion I might wrest myself from him and spring up the staircase, 



1TO TALS8 OF A TRAVELLER. 

whither he would not dare to follow me singly. The idea was 
pa* in execution as soon as conceived. The ruffian's throat was 
bare : with my right hand I seized him by it, just between the 
mastoides ; with my left hand I grasped the arm which held 
the carbine. The suddenness of my attack took him completely 
unawares ; and the strangling nature of my grasp paralyzed him. 
He choked and faltered. I felt his hand relaxing its hold, and 
was on the point of jerking myself away and darting up the 
staircase before he could recover himself, when I was suddenly 
seized by some one from behind. 

I had to let go my grasp. The bandit, once more released, fell 
upon me with fury, and gave me several blows with the but-end 
of his carbine, one of which wounded me severely in the fore- 
head, and covered me with blood. He took advantage of my 
being stunned to rifle me of my watch and whatever valuables I 
had about my person. 

When I recovered from the effects of the blow. I heard the 
voice of the chief of the banditti, who exclaimed u Quelio e il 
principe, siamo contente, audiamo ! " (It is the prince, enough, 
let us be off.) The band immediately closed round me and 
dragged me out of the palace, bearing off the three laborers 
likewise. 

I had no hat on, and the blood was flowing from my wound ; 
I managed to stanch it, however, with my pocket-handkerchief, 
which 1 bound round my forehead. The captain of the band 
conducted me in triumph, supposing me to be the prince. We 
had gone some distance before he learnt his mistake from one of 
the laborers. His rage was terrible. It was too late to return 
to the villa and endeavor to retrieve his error, for by this time 
the alarm must have been given, and every one in arms. He 
darted at me a furious look ; swore I had deceived him, and 
caused him to miss his fortune; and told me to prepare for 
death. The rest of the robbers were equally furious. I saw 
their hands upon their poniards ; and I knew that death was 
seldom an empty menace with these ruffians. 

The laborers saw the peril into which their information had 
betrayed me, and eagerly assured the captain that I was a man 
for whom the prince would pay a great ransom. This produced 
a pause. For my part, I cannot say that I had been much dis- 
mayed by their menaces. I mean not to make any boast of 
courage ; but I have been so schooled to hardship during the 
late revolutions, and have beheld death around me in so many 
perilous and disastrous scenes, that I have become, in some 
measure, callous to its terrors. The frequent hazard of life 



THE PAINTER'S ADVENTURE. 171 

makes a man at length as reckless of it as a gambler of his 
money. To their threat of death, I replied : " That tlie sooner 
it was executed, the better/' Thfs reply seemed to astonish the 
captain, and the prospect of ransom held out by the laborers, 
had, no doubt, a still greater effect on him. He considered for 
a moment ; assumed a calmer manner, and made a sign to his 
companions, who had remained waiting for my death warrant. 
" Forward^' said he, " we will see about this matter by and 
by." 

We descended rapidly towards the road of la Molara, which 
leads to Rocca Priori. In the midst of this road is a solitary 
inn. The captain ordered the troop to halt at the distance of a 
pistol shot from it ; and enjoined profound silence. He then 
approached the threshold alone with noiseless steps. He ex- 
amined the outside of the door very narrowly, and theu return- 
ing precipitately, made a sign for the troop to continue its march 
in silence. It has since been ascertained that this was one of 
those infamous inns which are the secret resorts of banditti. 
The innkeeper had an understanding with the captain, as he 
most probably had with the chiefs of the different bands. When 
any of the patrols and gens d'armes were quartered at his house, 
the brigands were warned of it by a preconcerted signal on the 
door; when there was no such signal, they might enter with 
safety and be sure of welcome. Many an isolated inn among 
the lonely parts of the Roman territories, and especially on the 
skirts of the mountains, have the same dangerous and suspicious 
character. They are places where the banditti gather informa- 
tion ; where they concert their plans, and where the unwary 
traveller, remote from hearing or assistance, is sometimes be- 
trayed to the stiletto of the midnight murderer. 

After pursuing our road a little farther, we struck off towards 
the woody mountains which envelop Rocca Priori. Our march 
was long and painful, with many circuits and windings ; at length 
we clambered a steep ascent, covered with a thick forest, and 
when we had reached the centre, I was told to seat myself on 
the earth. No sooner bad I done so, than at a sign from their 
chief, the robbers surrounded me, and spreading their great 
cloaks from one to the other, formed a kind of pavilion of 
mantles, to which their bodies might be said to seem as col- 
umns. The captain then struck a light, and a flambeau was lit 
immediately. The mantles were extended to prevent the light 
of the flambeau from being seen through the forest. Anxious 
as was my situation, I could not look round upon this screen 
of dusky drapery, relieved by the bright colors of the robbers' 



1T2 TALES OF A TRAVELLED 

undcr-dresses, the gleaming of their weapons, and the variety 
of strong-marked countenances, lit up by the flambeau, with- 
out admiring the picturesque effect of the scene. It was quite 
theatrical. 

The captain now held an ink-horn, and giving me pen and 
paper, ordered me to write what he should dictate. I obeyed. 
It was a demand, couched in the style of robber eloquence, 
"that the prince should send three thousand dollars for my 
ransom, or that my death should be the consequence of a re- 
fusal." 

1 knew enough of the desperate character of these beings to 
feel assured this was not an idle menace. Their only mode of 
insuring attention to their demands, is to make the infliction 
of the penalty inevitable. I saw at once, however, that the 
demand was preposterous, and made in improper language. 

I told the captain so, and assured him, that so extravagant 
a sum would never be granted ; that I was neither friend nor 
relative of the prince, but a mere artist, employed to execute 
certain paintings. That I had nothing to offer as a ransom but 
the price of rny labors ; if this were not sufficient, my life 
was at their disposal : it was a thing on which J sat but little 
value/' 

J was the more hardy in my reply, because I saw that coolness 
and hardihood had an effect upon the robbers. It is true, as I 
finished speaking the captain laid his hand upon his stiletto, 
but he restrained himself, and snatching the letter, folded it, 
and ordered me, in a peremptory tone, to address it to the 
prince. He then despatched one of the laborers with it to 
Tusculum, who promised to return with all possible speed. 

The robbers now prepared themselves for sleep, and I was 
told that I might do the same. They spread their great cloaks 
on the ground, and lay down around me. One was stationed 
at a little distance to keep watch, and was relieved every two 
hours. The strangeness and wildness of this mountain bivouac, 
among lawless beings whose hands seemed ever ready to grasp 
the stiletto, and with whom life was so trivial and insecure, 
was enough to banish repose. The coldness of the earth and 
of the dew, however, had a still greater effect than mental 
causes in disturbing my rest. The airs wafted to these moun- 
tains from the distant Mediterranean diffused a great chilliness 
as the night advanced. An expedient suggested itself. I 
called one of my fellow prisoners, the laborers, and made him 
lie down beside me. Whenever one of my limbs became chilled 
I approached it to the robust limb of my neighbor, and bor- 



THE PAINTER'S ADVENTURE. 173 

rowed some of his warmth. In this way I was able to obtain a 
little sleep. 

Day at length dawned, and I was roused from my slumber 
by the voice of the chieftain. He desired me to rise and follow 
him. I obeyed. On considering his physiognomy attentively, 
it appeared a little softened. He even assisted me in scram- 
bling up the steep forest among rocks and brambles. Habit had 
made him a vigorous mountaineer ; but I found it excessively 
toilsome to climb those rugged heights. We arrived at length 
at the summit of the mountain. 

Here it was that I felt all the enthusiasm of my art suddenly 
awakened ; and I forgot, in an instant, all perils and fatigues 
at this magnificent view of the sunrise in the midst of the 
mountains of Abruzzi. It was on these heights that Hannibal 
first pitched his camp, and pointed out Rome to his followers. 
The eye embraces a vast extent of country. The minor height 
of Tusculum, with its villas, and its sacred ruins, lie below; 
the Sabine hills and the Albanian mountains stretch on either 
hand, and beyond Tusculum and Frescati spreads out the im- 
mense Campagna, with its line of tombs, and here and there a 
broken aqueduct stretching across it, and the towers and domes 
of the eternal city in the midst. 

Fancy this scene lit up by the glories of a rising sun, and 
bursting upon my sight, as 1 looked forth from among the 
majestic forests of Abruzzi. Fancy, too, the savage fore- 
ground, made still more savage by groups of the banditti, 
armed and dressed in their wild, picturesque manner, and you 
will not wonder that the enthusiasm of a painter for a moment 
overpowered all his other feelings. 

The banditti were astonished at my admiration of a scene 
which familiarity had made so common in their eyes. I took 
advantage of their halting at this spot, drew forth a quire of 
drawing-paper, and began to sketch the features of the land- 
scape. The height, on which I was seated, was wild and 
solitary, separated from the ridge of Tusculum by a valley 
nearly three miles wide ; though the distance appeared less 
from the purity of the atmosphere. This height was one of the 
favorite retreats of the banditti, commanding a look-out over 
the country ; while, at the same time, it was covered with 
forests, and distant from the populous haunts of men. 

While I was sketching, my attention was called off for a 
moment by the cries of birds and the bleatings of sheep. I 
looked around, but could see nothing of the animals that 
uttered them. They were repeated, and appeared to come from 



174 TALES <QF A TRAVELLER. 

the summits of the trees. On looking more narrowly, I per- 
ceived six of the robbers perched on the tops of oaks, which 
grew on the breezy crest of the mountain, and commanded an 
uninterrupted prospect. From hence they were keeping a 
look-out, like so many vultures ; casting their eyes into the 
depths of the valley below us ; communicating with each other 
by signs, or holding discourse in sounds, which might be mis- 
taken by the wayfarer for the cries of hawks and crows, or 
the bleating of the mountain flocks. After they had recon- 
noitred the neighborhood, and finished their singular discourse, 
tiiey descended from their airy perch, and returned to their 
prisoners. The captain posted three of them at three naked 
sides of the mountain, while he remained to guard us with what 
appeared his most trusty companion. 

I had my book of sketches in my hand ; he requested to see 
it, and after having run his eye over it, expressed himself con- 
vinced of the truth of my assertion, that I was a painter. I 
thought I saw a gleam of good feeling dawning in him, and 
determined to avail myself of it. I knew that the worst of 
men have their good points and their accessible sides, if one 
would but study them carefully. Indeed, there is a singular 
mixture iu the character of the Italian robber. With reckless 
ferocity, he often mingles traits of kindness and good humor. 
He is often not radically bad, but driven to his course of life by 
some unpremeditated crime, the effect of those sudden bursts of 
passion to which the Italian temperament is prone. This has 
compelled him to take to the mountains, or, as it is technically 
termed among them, " andare in Campagna." He has become 
a robber by profession ; but like a soldier, when not in action, 
he can lay aside his weapon and his fierceness, and become like 
other men. 

I took occasion from the observations of the captain on my 
sketchings, to fall into conversation with him. I found him 
sociable and communicative. By degrees I became completely 
at my ease with him. I had fancied I perceived about him a 
degree of self-love, which I determined to make use of. I as- 
sumed an air of careless frankness, and told him that, as artist, 
I pretended to the power of judging of the physiognomy ; that I 
thought I perceived something in his features and demeanor 
which announced him worthy of higher fortunes. That he was 
not formed to exercise the profession to which he had abandoned 
himself; that he had talents and qualities fitted for a nobler 
sphere of action ; that he had but to change his course of life, 
and in a legitimate career, the same courage .and endowments 



THE STOnY OF tR& MANMT CHIEFTAIN. 175 

wbich now made him an object of terror, would ensure him the 
applause and admiration of society. 

I had not mistaken my man. My discourse both touched and 
excited him. He seized my hand, pressed it, and replied with 
strong emotion, " You have guessed the truth ; you have judged 
me rightly." He remained for a moment silent; then with 
a kind of effort he resumed. " I will tell you some particulars 
of my life, and you will perceive that it was the oppression of 
others, rather than my own crimes, that drove me to the moun- 
tains. I sought to serve my fellow-men, and they have perse- 
cuted me from among them." We seated ourselves on the 
grass, and the robber gave me the following anecdotes of his 
history. 



THE STORY OF THE BANDIT CHIEFTAIN. 

I AM a native of the villaga of Prossedi. My father was easy 
enough in circumstances, and we lived peaceably and independ- 
ently, cultivating our fields. All went on well with us until a 
new chief of the sbirri was sent to our village to take command 
of the police. He was an arbitrary fellow, prying into every 
thing, and practising all sorts of vexations and oppressions in 
the discharge of his office. 

I was at that time eighteen years of age, and had a natural 
love of justice and good neighborhood. I had also a little edu- 
cation, and knew something of history, so as to be able to judge 
a little of men and their actions. All this inspired me with 
hatred for this paltry despot. My own family, also, became 
the object of his suspicion or dislike, and felt more than once the 
arbitrary abuse of his power. These things worked together on 
my mind, and I gasped after vengeance. My character was 
always ardent and energetic ; and acted upon by my love of 
justice, determined me by one blow to rid the country of the 
tyrant. 

Full of my project I rose one morning before peep of day, 
and concealing a stiletto under my waistcoat here you see it ! 
(and he drew forth a long keen poniard) I lay in wait for 
him in the outskirts of the village. I knew all his haunts, and 
his habit of making his rounds and prowling about like a wolf, 
in the gray of the morning ; at length I met him and attacked 
him with fury. He was armed, but I took him unawares, and 
was full of youth and vigor. I gave him repeated blows to 
make sure work, and laid him lifeless at my feet. 



176 TALES OF A TRAV$LLE. 

When I was satisfied that I had done for him, I returned with 
all haste to the village, but had the ill-luck to meet two of the 
sbirri as I entered it. They accosted me and asked if I had 
seen their chief. I assumed an air of tranquillity, and told them 
I had not. They continued on their way, and, within a few 
hours, brought back the dead body to Prossedi. Their suspi- 
cions of me being already awakened, I was arrested and thrown 
into prison. Here I lay several weeks, when the prince, who was 
Seigneur of Prossedi, directed judicial proceedings against me. 
I was brought to trial, and a witness was produced who pretended 
to have seen me not far from the bleeding body, and flying with 
precipitation, so I was condemned to the galleys for thirty years. 

"Curse on such laws," vociferated the bandit, foaming with 
rage ; " curse on such a government, and ten thousand curses 
on the prince who caused me to be adjudged so rigorously, 
while so many other Roman princes harbor and protect assas- 
sins a thousand times more culpable. What had I done but 
what was inspired by a love of justice and my country? Why 
was my act more culpable than that of Brutus, when he sacri- 
ficed Csesar to the cause of liberty and justice? M 

There was something at once both lofty and ludicrous in the 
rhapsody of this robber chief, thus associating himself with 
one of the great names of antiquity. It showed, however, that 
he had at least the merit of knowing the remarkable facts in the 
history of his country. He became more calm, and resumed 
his narrative. 

I was conducted to Civita Vecchia in fetters. My heart was 
burning with rage. I had been married scarce six months to a 
woman whom I passionately loved, and who was pregnant. 
My family was in despair. For a long time I made unsuccess- 
ful efforts to break my chain. At length I found a morsel of 
iron which I hid carefully, and endeavored with a pointed flint 
to fashion it into a kind of file. I occupied myself in this work 
during the night-time, and when it was finished, I made out, 
after a long time, to sever one of the rings of my chain. My 
flight was successful. 

I wandered for several weeks in the mountains which sur- 
round Prossedi, and found means to inform my wife of the 
place where I was concealed. She came often to see me. I had 
determined to put myself at the head of an armed band. She 
endeavored for a long time to dissuade me ; but finding my 
resolution fixed, she at length united in my project of ven- 
geance, and brought me, herself, my poniard. 

By her means 1 communicated with several brave fellows of 



THE STORY OF THE BANDIT CHIEFTAIN. 17T 

the neighboring villages, who I knew to be ready to take to 
the mountains, and only panting for an opportunity to exercise 
their daring spirits. We soon formed a combination, pro- 
cured arms, and we have had ample opportunities of reven- 
ging ourselves for the wrongs and injuries which most of us 
have suffered. Every thing has succeeded with us until now, 
and had it not been for our blunder in mistaking you for the 
prince, our fortunes would have been made. 

Here the robber concluded his story. He had talked himself 
into companionship, and assured me he no longer bore me any 
grudge for the error of which I had been the innocent cause. 
He even professed a kindness for me, and wished me to remain 
some time with them. He promised to give me a sight of cer- 
tain grottos which they occupied beyond Villetri, and whither 
they resorted during the intervals of their expeditions. He 
assured me that they led a jovial life there ; had plenty of good 
cheer ; slept on beds of moss, and were waited upon by young 
and beautiful females, whom I might take for models. 

I confess I felt my curiosity roused by his descriptions of 
these grottos and their inhabitants ; they realized those scenes 
in robber-story which 1 had always looked upon as mere crea- 
tions of the fancy. I should gladly have accepted his invita- 
tion, and paid a visit to those caverns, could 1 have felt more 
secure in my company. 

I began to find my situation less painful. I had evidently 
propitiated the good-will of the chieftain, and hoped that he 
might release me for a moderate ransom. A new alarm, how- 
ever, awaited me. While the captain was looking out with im- 
patience for the return of tbe messenger who had been sent to 
the prince, the sentinel who had teen posted on the side of the 
mountain facing the plain of la Molara, came running towards 
us with precipitation. "We are betrayed!" exclaimed he. 
"The police of Frescati are after us. A party of carabiniers 
have just stopped at the inn below the mountain." Then lay- 
ing his hand on his stiletto, he swore, with a terrible oath, that 
if they made the least movement towards the mountains, my 
life and the lives of my fellow-prisoners should answer for it. 

The chieftain resumed all his ferocity of demeanor, and 
approved of what his companion said ; but when the latter had 
returned to his post, he turned to me with a softened air: "I 
must act as chief," said he, " and humor my dangerous sub- 
alterns. It is a law with us to kill our prisoners rather than 
suffer them to be rescued ; but do not be alarmed, la cose we 



178 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

are surprised keep by me ; fly with us, and I will consider my- 
self responsible for your life." 

There was nothing very consolatory in this arrangement, 
which would have placed me between two dangers ; I scarcely 
knew, in case of flight, which I should have most to apprehend 
from, the carbines of the pursuers, or the stilettos of the pur- 
sued. I remained silent, however, and endeavored to maintain 
/a look of tranquillity. 

For an hour was I kept in this state of peril and anxiety, 
The robbers, crouching among their leafy coverts, kept an eagle 
watch upon the carabiniers below, as they loitered about the 
inn ; sometimes lolling about the portal ; sometimes disappearing 
for several minutes, then sallying out, examining their weapons, 
pointing in different directions and apparently asking questions 
about the neighborhood ; not a movement or gesture was lost 
Upon the keen eyes of the brigands. At length we were relieved 
from our apprehensions. The carabiniers having finished their 
refreshment, seized their arms, continued along the valley to- 
wards the great road, and gradually left the mountain behind 
them. u I felt almost certain," said the chief, fct that they could 
not be sent after us. They know too well how prisoners have 
fared in our hands on similar occasions. Our laws in this re- 
spect are inflexible, and are necessary for our safety. If we 
once flinched from them, there would no longer be such thing 
as a ransom to be procured." 

There were no signs yet of the messenger's return. I was 
preparing to resume my sketching, when the captain drew a 
quire of paper from his knapsack u Come," said he, laugh- 
ing, u you are a painter ; take my likeness. The leaves of your 
portfolio are small ; draw it on this." I gladly consented, for 
it was a study that seldom presents itself to a painter. I recol- 
lected that Salvator Rosa in his youth had voluntarily sojourned 
for a time among the banditti of Calabria, and had filled his 
mind with the savage scenery and savage associates by which 
he was surrounded. I seized my pencil with enthusiasm at the 
thought. I found the captain the most docile of subjects, and 
after various shifting of positions, I placed him in an attitude 
to my mind. 

Picture to yourself a stern, muscular figure, in fanciful bandit 
costume, with pistols and poniards in belt, his brawny neck bare, 
a handkerchief loosely thrown around it, and the two ends in 
front strung with rings of all kinds, the spoils of travellers; 
relics and medals hung on his breast; his hat decorated with 
various-colored ribbons ; his vest and short breeches of bright 



THE STORY OF THE BANDIT CHIEFTAIN. 179 

colors and finely embroidered ; his legs in buskins or leggings. 
Fancy him on a mountain height, among wild rocks and rugged 
oaks, leaning on his carbine as if meditating some exploit, while 
far below are beheld villages and villas, the scenes of his ma- 
raudings, with the wide Carnpagna dimly extending in the dis- 
tance. 

The robber was pleased with the sketch, and seemed to ad- 
mire himself upon paper. I had scarcely finished, when the 
laborer arrived who had been sent for my ransom. He had 
reached Tusculum two hours after midnight. He brought me 
a letter from the prince, who was in bed at the time of his 
arrival. As I had predicted, he treated the demand as extrava- 
gant, but offered five hundred dollars for my ransom. Having 
no money by him at the moment, he had sent a note for the 
amount, payable to whomever should conduct me safe and sound 
to Rome. I presented the note of hand to the chieftain ; he 
received it with a shrug. u Of what use are notes of hand to 
us?" said he, " who can we send with you to Rome to receive 
it? We are all marked men, known and described at every 
gate and military post, and village church-door. No, we must 
have gold and silver ; let the sum be paid in cash and you shall 
be restored to liberty." 

The captain again placed a sheet of paper before me to com- 
municate his determination to the prince. When I had finished 
the letter and took the sheet from the quire, I found on the op- 
posite side of it the portrait which I had just been tracing. I 
was about to tear it off and give it to the chief. 

" Hold," said he, u let it go to Rome ; let them see what kind 
of looking fellow I am. Perhaps the prince and his friends 
may form as good an opinion of me from my face as you have 
done." 

This was said sportively, yet it was evident there was vanity 
lurking at the bottom. Even this wary, distrustful chief of 
banditti forgot for a moment his usual foresight and precaution 
in the common wish to be admired. He never reflected what 
use might be made of this portrait in his pursuit and conviction. 

The letter was folded and directed, and the messenger de- 
parted again for Tusculum. It was now eleven o'clock in the 
morning, and as yet we had eaten nothing. In spite of all my 
anxiety, I began to feel a craving appetite. I was glad, there- 
fore, to hear the captain talk something of eating. He ob- 
served that for three days and nights they had been lurking 
about among rocks and woods, meditating their expedition to 
Tusculum, during which all their provisions had been exhausted. 



180 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

He should now take measures to procure a supply. Leaving 
Hie, therefore, in the charge of his comrade, in whom he ap- 
peared to have implicit confidence, he departed, assuring me, 
that in less than two hours we should make a good dinner. 
Where it was to come from was an enigma to me, though it 
was evident these beings had their secret friends and agents 
throughout the country. 

Indeed, the inhabitants of these mountains and of the valleys 
which they embosom are a rude, half civilized set. The towns 
and villages among the forests of the Abruzzi, shut up from 
the rest of the world, are almost like savage dens. It is won- 
derful that such rude alxxles, so little known and visited, 
should be embosomed in the midst of one of the most travelled 
and civilized countries of Europe. Among these regions the 
robber prowls unmolested ; not a mountaineer hesitates to give 
him secret harbor and assistance. The shepherds, however, 
who tend their flocks among the mountains, are the favorite 
emissaries of the robbers, when they would send messages 
down to the valleys either for ransom or supplies. The shep- 
herds of the Abruzzi are as wild as the scenes they frequent. 
They are clad in a rude garb of black or brown sheep-skin ; 
they have high conical hats, and coarse sandals of cloth bound 
round their legs with thongs, similar to those worn by the rob- 
bers. They carry long staffs, on which as they lean they form 
picturesque objects in the lonely landscape, and they are fol- 
lowed by their ever-constant companion, the dog. They are a 
curitfus, questioning set, glad at any time to relieve the monotony 
of their solitude by the conversation of the passer-by, and the 
dog will lend an attentive ear, and put on as sagacious and 
inquisitive a look as his master. 

But I am wandering from my story. I was now left alone 
with one of the robbers, the confidential companion of the 
chief. He was the youngest and most vigorous of the band, 
and though his countenance had something of that dissolute 
fierceness which seems natural to this desperate, lawless mode 
of life, yet there were traits of manly beauty about it. As an 
artist I could not but admire it. I had remarked in him an 
air of abstraction and reverie, and at times a movement of in- 
ward suffering and impatience. He now sat on the ground ; 
his elbows on his knees, his head resting between bis clinched 
fists, and his eyes fixed on the earth with an expression of sad 
and bitter rumination. I had grown familiar with him from 
repeated conversations, and had found him superior in mind to 
the rest of the band. 1 was anxious to seize every opportunity 



THE STORY OF THE BANDIT CHIEFTAIN. 181 

of sounding the feelings of these singular beings. I fancied I 
read in the countenance of tins one traces of self-condemnation 
and remorse ; and the ease with which I had drawn forth the 
confidence of the chieftain encouraged me to hope the same 
with his followers. 

After a little preliminary conversation, I ventured to ask 
him if he did not feel regret at having abandoned his family 
and taken to this dangerous profession. "1 feel," replied he, 
44 but one regret, and that will end only with my life;" as he 
said this he pressed his clinched fists upon his bosom, drew his 
breath through his set teeth, and added with deep emotion, 4k I 
iiave something within here that stifles me ; it is like a burning 
iron consuming my very heart. I could tell you a miserable 
story, but not now another time." He relapsed into his for- 
mer position, and sat with his head between his hands, muttering 
to himself in broken ejaculations, and what appeared at times 
to be curses and maledictions. I saw he was not in a mood to 
be disturbed, so I left him to himself. In a little time the exhaus- 
tion of his feelings, and probably the fatigues he had undergone 
in this expedition, began to produce drowsiness. He struggled 
with it for a time, but the warmth and sultriness of mid-day 
made it irresistible, and he at length stretched himself upon 
the herbage and fell asleep. 

I now beheld a chance of escape within my reach. My guard 
lay before me at my mercy. His vigorous limbs relaxed by 
sleep ; his bosom open for the blow ; his carbine slipped from 
his nerveless grasp, and lying by his side ; his stiletto half out 
of the pocket in which it was usually carried. But two of his 
comrades were iu sight, and those at a considerable distance, 
on the edge of the mountain ; their backs turned to us, and 
their attention occupied in keeping a look-out upon the plain. 
Through a strip of intervening forest, and at the foot of a steep 
descent, I beheld the village of Rocca Priori. To have secured 
the carbine of the sleeping brigand, to have seized upon his 
poniard and have plunged it in his heart, would have been the 
work of an instant. Should he die without noise, I might dart 
through the forest and down to Rocca Priori before my flight 
might be discovered. In case of alarm, I should still have a 
fair start of the robbers, and a chance of getting beyond the 
reach of their shot. 

Here then was an opportunity for both escape and vengeance ; 
perilous, indeed, but powerfully tempting. Had my situation 
been more critical I could not have resisted it. I reflected, .how- 
ever, for a moment. The attempt, if successful, would be fol- 



182 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

lowed by the sacrifice of my two fellow prisoners, who were 
sleeping profoundly, and could not be awakened in time to es- 
cape. The laborer who had gone after the ransom might also 
fall a victim to the rage of the robbers, without the money 
which he brought being saved. Besides, the conduct of the 
chief towards me made me feel certain of speedy deliverance. 
These reflections overcame the first powerful impulse, and I 
calmed the turbulent agitation which it had awakened. 

I again took my materials for drawing, and amused myself 
with sketching the magnificent prospect. It was now about 
noon, and every thing seemed sunk into repose, like the bandit 
that lay sleeping before me. The noon-tide stillness that reigned 
over these mountains, the vast landscape below, gleaming with 
distant towns and dotted with various habitations and signs of 

*^ 

life, yet all so silent, had a powerful effect upon my mind. The 
intermediate valleys, too, that lie among mountains have a pecul- 
iar air of solitude. Few sounds are heard at mid-day to break 
the quiet of the scene. Sometimes the whistle of a solitary 
muleteer, lagging with his lazy animal along the road that winds 
through the centre of the valley ; sometimes the faint piping of 
a shepherd's reed from the side of the mountain, or sometimes 
the bell of an ass slowly pacing along, followed by a monk with 
bare feet and bare shining head, and carrying provisions to the 
convent. 

I had continued to sketch for some time among my sleeping 
companions, when at length I saw the captain of the band ap- 
proaching, followed by a peasant leading a mule, on which was 
a well-filled sack. I at first apprehended that this was some 
new prey fallen into the hands of the robbers, but the contented 
look of the peasant soon relieved me, and I was rejoiced to hear 
that it was our promised repast. The brigands now came run- 
ning from the three sides of the mountain, having the quick 
scent of vultures. Every one busied himself in unloading the 
mule and relieving the sack of its contents. 

The first thing that made its appearance was an enormous 
ham of a color and plumpness that would have inspired the pen- 
cil of Teniers. It was followed by a large cheese, a bag of boiled 
chestnuts, a little barrel of wine, and a quantity of good house- 
hold bread. Every thing was arranged on the grass with a degree 
of symmetry, and the captain presenting me his knife, requested 
me to help myself. We all seated ourselves round the viands, 
and nothing was heard for a time but the sound of vigorous 
mastication, or the gurgling of the barrel of wine as it revolved 
briskly about the circle. Sly long fasting and the mountain air 



THE STORY OF THE BANDIT CHIEFTAIN. 188 

and exercise had given me a keen appetite, and never did re- 
past appear to me more excellent or picturesque. 

From time to time one of the band was despatched to keep 
a look-out upon the plain : no enemy was at hand, and the din- 
ner was undisturbed. 

The peasant received nearly twice the value of his provisions, 
and set off down the mountain highly satisfied with his bargain. 
I felt invigorated by the hearty meal I had made, and notwith- 
standing that the wound I had received the evening before was 
painful, yet I could not but feel extremely interested and grati- 
fied by the singular scenes continually presented to me. Every 
thing seemed pictured about these wild beings and their haunts. 

Their bivouacs, their groups on guard, their indolent noon- 
tide repose on the mountain brow, their rude repast on the herb- 
age among rocks and trees, every thing presented a study for 
a painter. But it was towards the approach of evening that I 
felt the highest enthusiasm awakened. 

The setting sun, declining beyond the vast Campagna, shed 
its rich yellow beams on the woody summits of the Abruzzi. 
Several mountains crowned with snow shone brilliantly in the 
distance, contrasting their brightness with others, which, thrown 
into shade, assumed deep tints of purple and violet. As the 
evening advanced, the landscape darkened into a sterner charac- 
ter. The immense solitude around ; the wild mountains broken 
into rocks and precipices, intermingled with vast oak, cork, 
and chestnuts ; and the groups of banditti in the foreground, 
reminded me of those savage scenes of Salvator Rosa. 

To beguile the time the captain proposed to his comrades 
to spread before me their jewels and cameos, as I must doubt- 
less be a judge of such articles, and able to inform them of 
their nature. He set the example, the others followed it, and 
in a few moments I saw the grass before me sparkling with 
jewels and gems that would have delighted the eyes of an 
antiquary or a fine lady. Among them were several precious 
jewels and antique intaglios and cameos of great value, the 
spoils doubtless of travellers of distinction. I found that they 
were in the habit of selling their booty in the frontier towns. 
As these in general were thinly and poorly peopled, and little 
frequented by travellers, they could offer no market for such 
valuable articles of taste and luxury. I suggested to them the 
certainty of their readily obtaining great prices for these gems 
among the rich strangers with which Rome was thronged. 

The impression made upon their greedy minds was imme- 
diately apparent. One of the band, a young man, and the least 



"184 fti L JS8 

known, requested permission of the captain to depart the fol- 
lowing day in disguise for Rome, for the purpose of traffic; 
promising on the faith of a bandit (a sacred pledge amongst 
them) to return in two days to any place he might appoint. 
The captain consented, and a curious scene took place. The 
robbers crowded round him eagerly, confiding to him such of 
their jewels as they wished to dispose of, and giving him 
instructions what to demand. There was bargaining and ex- 
changing and selling of trinkets among themselves, and I 
beheld my watch, which had a chain and valuable seals, pur- 
chased by the young robber merchant of the ruffian who had 
plundered me, for sixty dollars. I now conceived a faint hope 
that if it went to Rome, I might somehow or other regain pos- 
session of it. 

In the mean time day declined, and no messenger returned 
from Tusculum. 

The idea of passing another night in the woods was extremely 
disheartening ; for I began to be satisfied with what I had seen 
of robber life. The chieftain now ordered his men to follow 
him, that he might station them at their posts, adding, that if 
the messenger did not return before night they must shift their 
quarters to some other place. 

I was again left alone with the young bandit who had before 
guarded me : he had the same gloomy air and haggard eye, 
with now and then a bitter sardonic smile. I was determined 
to probe this ulcerated heart, and reminded him of a kind of 
promise he had given me to tell me the cause of his suffering. 

It seemed to me as if these troubled spirits were glad of an 
opportunity to disburthen themselves ; and of having some 
fresh undiseased mind with which they could communicate. I 
had hardly made the request but he seated himself by my side, 
and gave me his story in, as nearly as I can recollect, the fol- 
lowing words. 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ROBBER. 

I WAS born at the little town of Frosinone, which lies at the 
skirts of the Abruzzi. My father had made a little property in 
trade, and gave me some education, as he intended me for the 
church, but I had kept gay company too much to relish the 
wwl, so I grew up a loiterer about the place. I was a heedless 
fellow, a little quarrelsome on occasions, but good-humored m 



TUE STORY OF THE YOUNG ROBBER. 185 

the main, so I made my way very well for a time, until I fell 
in love. There lived in our town a surveyor, or land bailiff, 
of the prince's, who had a young daughter, a beautiful girl of 
sixteen. She was looked upon as something better than the 
common run of our townsfolk, and kept almost entirely at 
home. I saw her occasionally, and became madly in love with 
her, she looked so fresh and tender, and so different to the sun- 
burnt females to whom 1 had been accustomed. 

As my father kept me in money, I always dressed well, and 
took all opportunities of showing myself to advantage in the 
eyes of the little beauty. 1 used to see her at church ; and as 
I could play a little upon the guitar, I gave her a tune some- 
times under her window of an evening ; and I tried to have 
interviews with her in her father's vineyard, not far from the 
town, where she sometimes walked. She was evidently pleased 
with me, but she was young and shy, and her father kept a 
strict eye upon her, and took alarm at my attentions, for he 
had a bad opinion of me, and looked for a better match for his 
daughter. I became furious at the difficulties thrown in my 
way, having been accustomed always to easy success among the 
women, being considered one of the smartest young fellows of 
the place. 

Her father brought home a suitor for her ; a rich farmer from 
a neighboring town. The wedding-day was appointed, and 
preparations were making. I got sight of her at her window, 
and I thought she looked sadly at me. I determined the match 
should not take place, cost what it might. I met her intended 
bridegroom in the market-place, and could not restrain the 
expression of my rage. A few hot words passed betweeii us, 
when I drew my stiletto, and stabbed him to the heart. I fled 
to a neighboring church for refuge ; and with a little money I 
obtained absolution ; but I did not dare to venture from my 
asylum. 

At that time our captain was forming his troop. He had 
known me from boyhood, and hearing of my situation, came to 
me in secret, and made such offers that I agreed to enlist myself 
among his followers. Indeed, I had more than once thought 
of taking to this mode of life, having known several brave 
fellows of the mountains, who used to spend their money 
freely among us youngsters of the town. I accordingly left my 
asylum late one night, repaired to the appointed place of meet- 
ing ; took the oaths prescribed, and became one of the troop. 
We were for some time in a distant part of the mountains, and 
our wild adventurous kind of life hit my fancy wonderfully, aud 



186 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

diverted my thoughts. At length they returned with all their 
violence to the recollection of Rosetta. The solitude in which 
I often found myself gave me time to brood over her image, 
and as I have kept watch at night over our sleeping camp in 
the mountains, my feelings have been roused almost to a fever. 

At length we shifted our ground, and determined to make a 
descent upon the road between Terracina and Naples. In the 
course of our expedition, we passed a day or two in the woody 
mountains which rise above Frosinone. I cannot tell you how 1 
felt when I looked down upon the place, and distinguished the 
residence of Rosetta. I determined to have an interview with 
her ; but to what purpose ? I could not expect that she would 
quit her home, and accompany me in my hazardous life among 
the mountains. She had been brought up too tenderly for that ; 
and when I looked upon the. women who were associated with 
some of our troop, I could not have borne the thoughts of her 
being their companion. All return to my former life was like- 
wise hopeless ; for a price was set upon my head. Still I deter- 
mined to see her ; the very hazard and f ruitlessness of the thing 
made me furious to accomplish it. 

It is about three weeks since I persuaded our captain to draw 
down to the vicinity of Frosinone, in hopes of entrapping some 
of its principal inhabitants, and compelling them to a ransom. 
We were lying in ambush towards evening, not far from the 
vineyard of Rosetta's father. I stole quietly from my compan- 
ions, and drew near to reconnoitre the place of her frequent 
walks. 

How my heart beat when, among the vines, I beheld the 
gleaming of a white dress ! I knew it must be Rosetta's ; it 
being rare for any female of the place to dress in white. I 
advanced secretly and without noise, until putting aside the 
vines, I stood suddenly before her. She uttered a piercing 
shriek, but I seized her in my arms, put my hand upon her 
mouth and conjured her to be silent. I poured out all the frenzy 
of my passion ; offered to renounce my mode of life, to put my 
fate in her hands, to fly with her where we might live in safety 
together. All that I could say, or do, would not pacify her. 
Instead of love, horror and affright seemed to have taken pos- 
session of her breast. She struggled partly from my grasp, 
and filled the air with her cries. In an instant the captain and 
the rest of my companions were around us. I would have given 
any thing at that moment had she been safe out of our hands, 
and in her father's house. It was too late. The captain pro- 
nounced her a prize, and ordered that she should be borne to 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNQ ROBBER. 187 

the mountains. I represented to him that she was my prize, 
that I had a previous claim to her ; and I mentioned my former 
attachment. He sneered bitterly in reply ; observed that bri- 
gands had no business with village intrigues, and that, according 
to the laws of the troop, all spoils of the kind were determined 
by lot. Love and jealousy were raging in my heart, but I had 
to choose between obedieirce and death. J surrendered her to 
the captain, and we made for the mountains. 

She was overcome by affright, and her steps were so feeble 
and faltering, that it was necessary to support her. I could not 
endure the idea that my comrades should touch her, and assum- 
ing a forced tranquillity, begged that she might be confided to me, 
as one to whom she was more accustomed. The captain regarded 
me for a moment with a searching look, but I bore it without 
flinching, and he consented. I took her in my arms : she was 
almost senseless. Her head rested on my shoulder, her mouth 
was near to mine. I felt her breath on my face, and it seemed 
to fan the flame which devoured me. Oh, God ! to have this 
glowing treasure in my arms, and yet to think it was not mine ! 

We arrived at the foot of the mountain. I ascended it with 
difficulty, particularly where the woods were thick ; but I would 
not relinquish my delicious burthen. J reflected with rage, how- 
ever, that I must soon do so. The thoughts that so delicate a 
creature must be abandoned to my rude companions, maddened 
me. I felt tempted, the stiletto in my hand, to cut my way 
through them all, and bear her off in triumph. I scarcely con- 
ceived the idea, before I saw its rashness ; but my brain was 
fevered with the thought that any but myself should enjoy her 
charms. I endeavored to outstrip my companions by the quick- 
ness of my movements ; and to get a little distance ahead, in 
case any favorable opportunity of escape should present. Vain 
effort ! The voice of the captain suddenly ordered a halt. I 
trembled, but had to obey. The poor girl partly opened a lan- 
guid eye, but was without strength or motion. I laid her upon 
the grass. The captain darted on me a terrible look of suspi- 
cion, and ordered me to scour the woods with my companions, 
in search of some shepherd who might be sent to her father's 
to demand a ransom. 

I saw at once the peril. To resist with violence was certain 
death ; but to leave her alone, in the power of the captain ! I 
spoke out then with a fervor inspired by my passion and my 
despair. I reminded the captain that I was the first to seize 
her ; that she was my prize, and that my previous attachment 
for her should make her sacred among my companions. I in- 



188 TALES OP A 

sis ted, therefore, that he should pledge me his word to respect 
her ; otherwise I should refuse obedience to his orders. His 
only reply was, to cock his carbine ; and at the signal my com- 
rades did the same. They laughed with cruelty at my Impotent 
rage. What could I do? I felt the madness of resistance. I 
was menaced on all hands, and my companions obliged me to 
follow them. She remained alone with the chief yes, alone 
and almost lifeless ! 

Here the robber paused in his recital, overpowered by his 
emotions. Great drops of sweat stood on his forehead ; he 
panted rather than breathed ; his brawny bosom rose and fell 
like the waves of a troubled sea. When he had become a little 
calm, he continued his recital. 

I was not long in finding a shepherd, said he. I ran with the 
rapidity of a deer, eager, if possible, to get back before what I 
dreaded might take place. I had left my companions far be- 
hind, and I rejoined them before they had reached one-half the 
distance I had made. I hurried them back to the place where 
we had left the captain. As we approached, I beheld him seated 
by the side of Rosetta. His triumphant look, and the desolate 
condition of the unfortunate girl, left me no cloubt of her fate. 
I know not how I restrained my fury. 

It was with extreme difficulty, and by guiding her hand, that 
she was made to trace a few characters, requesting her father 
to send three hundred dollars as her ransom. The letter was 
despatched by the shepherd. When he was gone, the chief 
turned sternly to me : " You have set an example," said he, fct of 
mutiny and self-will, which if indulged would be ruinous to the 
troop. Had I treated you as our laws require, this bullet would 
have been driven through your brain. But you are an old 
friend ; I have borne patiently with your fury and your folly ; 
I have even protected you from a foolish passion that would 
have unmanned you. As to this girl, the laws of our associa- 
tion must have their course. ' ' So saying, he gave his commands, 
lots were drawn, and the helpless girl was abandoned to the 
troop. 

Here the robber paused again, panting with fury ; and it was 
some moments before he could resume his story. 

Hell, said he, was raging in my heart. 1 beheld the impossi- 
bility of avenging myself, and I felt that, according to the arti- 
cles in which we stood bound to one another, the captain was in 
the right. I rushed with frenzy from the place. I threw my- 
self upon the earth ; tore up the grass with my hands, and beat 
my head, and gnashed my teeth in agony and rage. When at 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ROBBER. 189 

length I returned, I beheld the wretched victim, pale, dishev- 
elled ; her dress torn and disordered. An emotion of pity for a 
moment subdued my fiercer feelings. I bore her to the foot of 
a tree, and leaned her gently against it. I took my gourd, 
which was filled with wine, and applying it to her lips, endeav- 
ored to make her swallow a little. To what a condition was 
she reduced ! She, whom I had once seen the pride of Frosi- 
none, who but a short time before I had beheld sporting in her 
father's vineyard, so fresh and beautiful and happy ! Her teeth 
were clinched ; her eyes fixed on the ground ; her form without 
motion, and in a state of absolute insensibility. 1 hung over 
her in an agony of recollection of all that she had been, and of 
anguish at what 1 now beheld her. I darted round a look of 
horror at my companions, who seemed like so many fiends exult- 
ing in the downfall of an angel, and I felt a horror at m3 T self for 
being their accomplice. 

The captain, always suspicious, saw with his usual penetra- 
tion what was passing within me, and ordered me to go upon 
the ridge of woods to keep a look-out upon the neighborhood 
and await the return of the shepherd. I obeyed, of course, 
stifling the fury that raged within me, though 1 felt for the mo- 
ment that he was my most deadly foe. 

On my way, however, a ray of reflection came across my 
mind. I perceived that the captain was but following with 
strictness the terrible laws to which we had sworn fidelity. 
That the passion by which I had been blinded might with jus- 
tice have been fatal to me but for his forbearance ; that he had 
penetrated my soul, and had taken precautions, by sending me 
out of the way, to prevent my committing any excess in my 
anger. From that instant I felt that I was capable of pardon- 
ing him. 

Occupied with these thoughts, I arrived at the foot of the 
mountain. The country was solitary and secure ; and in a short 
time I beheld the shepherd at a distance crossing the plain. I 
hastened to meet him. He had obtained nothing. He had 
found the father plunged in the deepest distress. He had read 
the letter with violent emotion, and then calming himself with 
a sudden exertion, he had replied coldly, "My daughter has 
been dishonored by those wretches ; let her be returned without 
ransom, or let her die ! " 

I shuddered at this reply. I knew, according to the laws of 
our troop, her death was inevitable. Our oaths required it. I 
felt, nevertheless, that, not having been able to have he*' to 
myself, I could become her executioner ! 



190 TALKS OF A TRAVELLER. 

The robber again paused with agitation. I sat musing upon 
bis last frightful words, which proved to what excess the pas- 
sions may be carried when escaped from all moral restraint. 
There was a horrible verity in this story that reminded me of 
some of the tragic fictions of Dante. 

We now came to a fatal moment, resumed the bandit. After 
the report of the shepherd, I returned with him, and the chief- 
tain received from his lips the refusal of the father. At a 
signal, which we all understood, we followed him some distance 
from the victim. He there pronounced her sentence of death. 
Every one stood ready to execute his order ; but I interfered. 
I observed that there was something due to pity, as well as to 
justice. That I was as ready as any one to approve the impla- 
cable law which was to serve as a warning to all those who 
hesitated to pay the ransoms demanded for our prisoners, but 
that, though the sacrifice was proper, it ought to be made with- 
out cruelty. The night is approaching, continued I ; she will 
soon be wrapped in sleep ; let her then be despatched. All 
that I now claim on the score of former fondness for her is, let 
me strike the blow. I will do it as surely, but more tenderly 
than another. 

Several raised their voices against my proposition, but the 
captain imposed silence on them. He told me I might conduct 
her into a thicket at some distance, and he relied upon my 
promise. 

I hastened to seize my prey. There was a forlorn kind of 
triumph at having at length become her exclusive possessor. I 
bore her off into the thickness of the forest. She remained in 
the same state of insensibility and stupor. I was thankful that 
she did not recollect me ; for had she once murmured my name, 
I should have been overcome. She slept at length in the arms 
of him who was to poniard her. Many were the conflicts I 
underwent before I could bring myself to strike the blow. My 
heart had become sore by the recent conflicts it had under- 
gone, and I dreaded lest, by procrastination, some other should 
become her executioner. When her repose had continued for 
some time, I separated myself gently from her, that I might 
not disturb her sleep, and seizing suddenly my poniard, plunged 
it into her bosom. A painful and concentrated murmur, but 
without any convulsive movement, accompanied her last sigh. 
So perished this unfortunate. 

He ceased to speak. I sat horror-struck, covering my face 
with my hands, seeking, as it were, to hide from myself the 
frightful images he had presented to my mind. I was roused 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ROBBER. 191 

from this silence by the voice of the captain. "You sleep," 
said he, u and it is time to be off. Come, we must abandon 
this height, as night is setting in, and the messenger is not 
returned. I will post some one on the mountain edge, to con- 
duct him to the place where we shall pass the night." 

This was no agreeable news to me. I was sick at heart with 
the dismal story I had heard. I was harassed and fatigued, 
and the sight of the banditti began to grow insupportable to me. 

The captain assembled his comrades. We rapidly descended 
the forest which we had mounted with so much difficulty in the 
morning, and soon arrived in what appeared to be a frequented 
road. The robbers proceeded with great caution, carrying their 
guns cocked, and looking on every side with wary and sus- 
picious eyes. They were apprehensive of encountering the 
civic patrol. We left Rocca Priori behind us. There was a 
fountain near by, and as 1 was excessively thirsty, 1 begged 
permission to stop and drink. The captain himself went, and 
brought me water in his hat. We pursued our route, when, at 
the extremity of an alley which crossed the road, I perceived 
a female on horseback, dressed in white. She was alone. I 
recollected the fate of the poor girl in the story, and trembled 
for her safety. 

One of the brigands saw her at the same instant, and plun- 
ging into the bushes, he ran precipitately in the direction 
towards her. Stopping on the border of the alley, he put one 
knee to the ground, presented his carbine ready for menace, or 
to shoot her horse if she attempted to fly, and in this vmy 
awaited her approach. 1 kept my eyes fixed on her with 
intense anxiety. I felt tempted to shout, and warn her of her 
clanger, though my own destruction would have been the con- 
sequence. It was awful to see this tiger crouching ready for a 
bound, and the poor innocent victim wandering unconsciously 
near him. Nothing but a mere chance could save her. To my 
joy, the chance turned in her favor. She seemed almost acci- 
dentally to take an opposite path, which led outside of the 
wood, where the robber dare not venture. To this casual devi- 
ation she owed her safety. 

I could not imagine why the captain of the band had ven- 
tured to such a distance from the height, on which he had 
placed the sentinel to watch the return of the messengers. He 
seemed himself uneasy at the risk to which lie exposed himself. 
His movements were rapid and uneasy ; I could scarce keep 
pace with him. At length, after three hours of what might 
be termed a forced march, we mounted the extremity of the 



192 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

same woods, the summit of which we had occupied during the 
day; and I learnt with satisfaction, that we had reached our 
quarters for the night. "You must be fatigued," said the 
chieftain ; "but it was necessary to survey the environs, so as 
not to be surprised during the night. Had we met with the 
famous civic guard of Rocca Priori you would have seen fine 
sport." Such was the indefatigable precaution and forethought 
of this robber chief, who really gave continual evidences of mili- 
tary talent. 

The night was magnificent. The moon rising above the hori- 
zon in a cloudless sky, faintly lit up the grand features of the 
mountains, while lights twinkling here and there, like terrestrial 
stars, in the wide, dusky expanse of the landscape, betrayed 
the lonely cabins of the shepherds. Exhausted by fatigue, and 
by the many agitations I had experienced, I prepared to sleep, 
soothed by the hope of approaching deliverance. The captain 
ordered his companions to collect some dry moss ; he arranged 
with his own hands a kind of mattress and pillow of it, and gave 
me his ample mantle as a covering. I could not but feel both 
surprised and gratified by such unexpected attentions on the 
part of this benevolent cut-throat : for there is nothing more 
striking than to find the ordinary charities, which are mutters of 
course in common life, flourishing by the side of such stern and 
sterile crime. It is like finding the tender flowers and fresh 
herbage of the valley growing among the rocks and cinders of 
the volcano. 

Before I fell asleep, I had some farther discourse with the 
captain, who seemed to put great confidence in me. He re- 
ferred to our previous conversation of the morning ; told me he 
was weary of his hazardous profession ; that he had acquired 
sufficient property, and was anxious to return to the world and 
lead a peaceful life in the bosom of his family. He wished to 
know whether it was not in my power to procure him a pass- 
port for the United States of America. J applauded his good 
intentions, and promised to do every thing in my power to 
promote its success. We then parted for the night. I stretched 
myself upon my couch of moss, which, after my fatigues, felt 
like a bed of down, and sheltered by the robber's mantle from 
all humidity, I slept soundly without waking, until the signal 
to arise. 

It was nearly six o'clock, and the day was just dawning. 
As the place where we had passed the night was too much 
exposed, we moved up into the thickness of the woods. A 
fire was kindled. While there was any flame, the mantles 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ROBBER. 19$ 

were again extended round it ; but when nothing remained but 
glowing cinders, they were lowered, and the robbers seated 
themselves in a circle. 

The scene before me reminded me of some of those described 
by Homer. There wanted only the victim on the coals, and 
the sacred knife, to cut off the succulent parts, and distribute 
them around. My companions might have rivalled the grim 
warriors of Greece. In place of the noble repasts, however, 
of Achilles and Agamemnon, I beheld displayed on the grass 
the remains of the ham which had sustained so vigorous an 
attack on the preceding evening, accompanied by the relics of 
the bread, cheese, and wine. 

We had scarcely commenced our frugal breakfast, when I 
heard again an imitation of the bleating of sheep, similar to 
what I had heard the day before. The captain answered it in 
the same tone. Two men were soon after seen descending from 
the woody height, where we had passed the preceding evening. 
On nearer approach, they proved to be the sentinel and the 
messenger. The captain rose and went to meet them. He 
made a signal for his comrades to join him. They had a short 
conference, and then returning to me with eagerness, u Your 
ransom is paid," said he ; u you are free ! " 

Though I had anticipated deliverance, I cannot tell you what 
a rush of delight these tidings gave me. I cared not to finish 
my repast, but prepared to depart. The captain took me by 
the hand ; requested permission to write to me, and begged me 
not to forget the passport. 1 replied, that I hoped to be of 
effectual service to him, and that I relied on his lionor to return 
the prince's note for five hundred dollars, now that* the cash was 
paid. He regarded me for a moment with surprise ; then, seem- 
ing to recollect himself, tk E giusto," said he, " eccolo adio !" * 
He delivered me the note, pressed my hand once more, and we 
separated. The laborers were permitted to follow me, and we 
resumed with joy our road towards Tusculum. 



The artist ceased to speak ; the party continued for a few mo- 
ments to pace the shore of Terracina in silence. The story they 
had heard had made a deep impression on them, particularly on 
the fair Venetian, who had gradually regained her husband's 
arm. At the part that related to the young girl of Frosinone, 
she had been violently affected ; sobs broke from her; she clung 

> It i* just there it IB adieu ! 



J94 TALES OF A TRA VELLSR. 

close to her husband, and as slie looked up to him as if for 
protection, the moonbeams shining on her beautifully fair 
countenance showed it paler than usual with terror, while tears 
glittered in her fine dark eyes. 4t O caro mio!" would she 
murmur, shuddering at every atrocious circumstance of the story. 

44 Corragio, mia vita! " was the reply, as the husband gently 
and fondly tapped the white hand that lay upon his arm. 

The Englishman alone preserved his usual phlegm, and the 
fair Venetian was piqued at it. 

She had pardoned him a want of gallantry towards herself, 
though a sin of omission seldom met with in the gallant climate 
of Italy, but the quiet coolness which he maintained in matters 
which so much affected her, and the slow credence which he had 
given to the stories which had filled her with alarm, were quite 
vexatious. 

44 Santa Maria ! " said she to her husband as they retired for 
the night, u what insensible beings these English are ! " 

In the morning all was bustle at the inn at Terracina. 

The procaccio had departed at daybreak, on its route towards 
Rome, but the Englishman was yet to start, and the departure 
of an English equipage is always enough to keep an inn in a 
bustle. On this occasion there was more than usual stir ; for 
the Englishman having much property about him, and having 
been convinced of the real danger of the road, had applied to 
the police, and obtained, by dint of liberal pay, an escort of 
eight dragoons and twelve foot-soldiers, as far as Fondi. 

Perhaps, too, there might have been a little ostentation at 
bottom, from which, with great delicacy be it spoken, English 
travellers are "toot always exempt ; though to say the truth, he 
had nothing of it in his manner. He moved about taciturn and 
reserved as usual, among the gaping crowd, in his gingerbread- 
colored travelling cap, with his hands in his pockets. He gave 
laconic orders to John as he packed away the thousand and one 
indispensable conveniences of the night, double loaded his pis- 
tols with great sang-froid, and deposited them in the pockets of 
the carnage, taking no notice of a pair of keen eyes gazing on 
him from among the herd of loitering idlers. The fair Venetian 
now came up with a request made in her dulcet tones, that he 
would permit their carnage to proceed under protection of his 
escort. The Englishman, who was busy loading another pair 
of pistols for his servant, and held the ramrod between his teeth, 
nodded assent as a matter of course, but without lifting up his 
eyes. The fair Venetian was not accustomed to such indiffer- 
ence, " O Dio ! " ejaculated she softly as she retired, " come 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ROBBER. 195 

sono frecldi questi Inglesi." At length off they set in gallant 
style, the eight dragoons prancing in front, the twelve foot-sol- 
diers marching in rear, and carriages moving slowly in the cen- 
tre to enable the infantry to keep pace with them. They had 
proceeded but a few hundred yards when it was discovered that 
some indispensable article had been left behind. 

In fact, the Englishman's purse was missing, and John was 
despatched to the inn to search for it. 

This occasioned a little delay, and the carriage of the Vene- 
tians drove slowly on. John came back out of breath and out 
of humor ; the purse was not to be found ; his master was irri- 
tated ; he recollected the very place where it lay ; the cursed 
Italian servant had pocketed it. John was again sent back. 
He returned once more, without the purse, but with the land lo I'd 
and the whole household at his heels. A thousand ejaculations 
and protestations, accompanied by all sorts of grimaces and 
contortions. " No purse had been seen his excelleuza must 
be mistaken." 

No his excellenza was not mistaken ; the purse lay on the 
marble table, under the mirror : a green purse, half full of gold 
and silver. Again a thousand grimaces and contortions, and 
vows by San Genario, that no purse of the kind had been seen. 

The Englishman became furious. " The waiter had pocketed 
it. The landlord was a knave. The inn a den of thieves it 

was a d d country he had been cheated and plundered 

from one end of it to the other but he'd have satisfaction 
he'd drive right off to the police." 

He was on the point of ordering the postilions to turn back, 
when, on rising, he displaced the cushion of the carnage, and 
the purse of money fell chinking to the floor. 

All the blood in his body seemed to rush into his face. 

"D n the purse," said he, as he snatched it up. He 

dashed a handful of money on the ground before the pale, crin- 
ging waiter. "There be off," cried he; "John, order the 
postilions to drive on." 

Above half an hour had been exhausted in this altercation. 
The Venetian carriage had loitered along ; its passengers look- 
ing out from time to time, and expecting the escort every 
moment to follow. They had gradually turned an angle of the 
road that shut them out of sight. The little army was again 
in motion, and made a very picturesque appearance as it wound 
along at the bottom of the rocks ; the morning sunshine beam- 
ing upon the weapons of soldiery. 

The Englishman lolled back in his carriage, vexed with him- 



TALES Of A TRAVELLER. 

self at what had passed, and consequently out of humor with 
all the world. As this, however, is no uncommon case with 
gentlemen who travel for their pleasure, it is hardly worthy of 
remark. 

They had wound up from the coast among the hills, and came 
to a part of the road that admitted of some prospect ahead. 

" I see nothing of the lady's carriage, sir," said John, leaning 
over from the coach box. 

44 Hang the lady's carriage ! " said the Englishman, crustily ; 
" don't plague me about the lady's carriage ; must I be con- 
tinually pestered with strangers?" 

John said not another word., for he understood his master's 
mood. The road grew more wild and lonely ; they were slowly 
proceeding in a foot pace up a hill ; the dragoons were some 
distance ahead, and had just reached the summit of the hill, 
when they uttered an exclamation, or rather shout, and galloped 
forward. The Englishman was aroused from his jsulky revery. 
He stretched his head from the carriage, which had attained the 
brow of the hill. Before him extended a long hollow defile, 
commanded on one side by rugged, precipitous heights, covered 
with bushes and scanty forest trees. At some distance he be- 
held the carriage of the Venetians overturned ; a numerous gang 
of desperadoes were rifling it ; the young man and his servant 
were overpowered and partly stripped, and the lady was in the 
hands of two of the ruffians. The Englishman seized his pis- 
tols, sprang from his carriage, and called upon John to follow 
him. Jn the mean time, as the dragoons came forward, the 
robbers who were busy with the carriage quitted their spoil, 
formed themselves in the middle of the road, and taking delib- 
erate aim, tired. One of the dragoons fell, another was wounded, 
and the whole were for a moment checked and thrown in con- 
fusion. The robbers loaded again in an instant. The dragoons 
had discharged their carbines, but without apparent effect ; they 
received another volley, which, though none fell, threw them 
again into confusion. The robbers were loading a second time, 
when they saw the foot soldiers at hand. ' Scampa via! " 
was the word. They abandoned their prey, and retreated up 
the rocks ; the soldiers after them. They fought from cliff to 
cliff, and bush to bush, the robbers turning every now and then 
to fire upon their pursuers ; the soldiers scrambling after them, 
and discharging their muskets whenever they could get a chance. 
Sometimes a soldier or a robber was shot down, and came tum- 
bling among the cliffs. The dragoons kept firing from below, 
whenever a robber carne in sight. 



THE STORY OF THE YOUNG ROBBER. 197 

The Englishman hastened to the scene of action, and the 
halls discharged at the dragoons had whistled past him as he 
advanced. One object, however, engrossed his attention. It 
was the beautiful Venetian lady in the hands of two of the robbers, 
who, during the confusion of the fight, carried her shrieking up 
the mountains. He saw her dress gleaming among the bushes, 
and he sprang up the rocks to intercept the robbers as they 
bore off their prey. The ruggedness of the steep and the en- 
tanglements of the bushes, delayed and impeded him. He lost 
sight of the lady, but was still guided by her cries, which grew 
fainter and fainter. They were off to the left, while the report 
of muskets showed that the battle was raging to the right. 

At length he came upon what appeared to be a rugged foot- 
path, faintly worn in a gully of the rock, and beheld the ruffians 
at some distance hurrying the lady up the defile. One of them 
hearing his approach let go his prey, advanced towards him, and 
levelling the carbine which had been slung on his back, fired. 
The ball whizzed through the Englishman's hat, and carried 
with it some of his hair. He returned the fire with one of his 
pistols, and the robber fell. The other brigand now dropped 
the lady, and drawing a long pistol from his belt, fired ou his 
adversary with deliberate aim ; the ball passed between his 
left arm and his side, slightly wounding the arm. The English- 
man advanced and discharged his remaining pistol, which 
wounded the robber, but not severely. The brigand drew a 
stiletto, and rushed upon his adversary, who eluded the blow, 
receiving merely a slight wound, and defending himself with 
his pistol, which had a spring bayonet. They closed with one 
another, and a desperate struggle ensued. The robber was a 
square-built, thick-set man, powerful, muscular, and active. 
The Englishman, though of larger frame and greater strength, 
was less active and less accustomed to athletic exercises and 
feats of hardihood, but he showed himself practised and skilled 
in the art of defence. They were on a craggy height, and the 
Englishman perceived that his antagonist was striving to press 
him to the edge. 

A side glance showed him also the robber whom he had first 
wounded, scrambling up to the assistance of his comrade, sti- 
letto in hand. He had, in fact, attained the summit of the cliff, 
and the Englishman saw him within a few steps, when he heard 
suddenly the report of a pistol and the ruffian fell. The shot 
came from John, who had arrived just in time to save his 
master. 

The remaining robber, exhausted by loss of blood and the 



138 TALES OF A TRA VELLUM. 

violence of the contest, showed signs of faltering. His adver- 
sary pursued his Advantage ; pressed on him, and as his strength 
relaxed, dashed him headlong from the precipice. He looked 
after him and saw him lying motionless among the rocks l>elow. 

The Englishman now sought the fair Venetian. He found 
her senseless on the ground. With his servant's assistance he 
bore her down to the road, where her husband was raving like 
one distracted. 

The occasional discharge of fire-arms along the height showed 
that a retreating fight was still kept up by the robbers. The 
carriage was righted ; the baggage was hastily replaced ; the 
Venetian, transported with joy and gratitude, took his lovely 
and senseless burthen in his arms, and the party resumed their 
route towards Fondi, escorted by the dragoons, leaving the foot 
soldiers to ferret out the banditti. 

While on the way John dressed his master's wounds, which 
were found not to be serious. 

Before arriving at Fondi the fair Venetian had recovered from 
her swoon, and was made conscious of her safety and of the 
mode of her deliverance. Her transports were unbounded ; and 
mingled with them were enthusiastic ejaculations of gratitude to 
her deliverer. A thousand times did she reproach herself for 
having accused him of coldness and insensibility. The moment 
she saw him she rushed into his arms, and clasped him round 
the neck with all the vivacity of her nation. 

Never was man more embarrassed by the embraces of a fine 
woman. 

* fc My deliverer ! my angel ! " exclaimed she. 

4 'Tut! tut! " said the Englishman. 

" You are wounded ! " shrieked the fair Venetian, as she saw 
the blood upon his clothes. 

44 Pooh nothing at all ! " 

44 O Dio ! " exclaimed she, clasping him again round the neck 
and sobbing on his bosom. 

4fc Pooh ! " exclaimed the Englishman, looking somewhat 
foolish ; " this is all nonsense." 



PART FOURTH. 
THE MONEY DIGGERS. 

[FOUND AMONG THE PAPEB6 OF THE LATE DIEDEICH KNICKERBOCKER.) 



Now I remember those old women's words 
Who in my youth would tell me winter's tales; 
And apeak of spirits and ghosta that glide by uight 
About the place where treasure had been hid. 

MARLOW'8 JEW OF MALTA* 



HELL GATE. 

ABOUT six miles from the renowned city of the Manhattoes, 
and in that Sound, or arm of the sea, which passes between the 
main land and Nassau or Long Island, there is a narrow strait, 
where the current is violently compressed between shouldering 
promontories, and horribly irritated and perplexed by rocks 
and shoals. Being at the best of times a very violent, hasty 
current, it takes these impediments in mighty dudgeon ; boiling 
iu whirlpools ; brawling and fretting in ripples and breakers ; 
and, in short, indulging in all kinds of wrong-headed paroxysms. 
At such times, woe to any unlucky vessel that ventures within 
its clutches. 

This termagant humor is said to prevail only at half tides. 
At low water it is as pacific us any other stream. As the tide 
rises, it begins to fret ; at half tide it rages and roars as if bel- 
lowing for more water; but when the tide is full it relapses 
again into quiet, and for a time seems almost to sleep as 
soundly as an alderman after dinner. It may be compared to 
an inveterate hard drinker, who is a peaceable fellow enough 
when lie has no liquor at all, or when he has a skin full, but 
when half seas over plays the very devil. 

This mighty, blustering, bullying little strait was a place of 
great difficulty and danger to the Dutch navigators of ancient 

199 



200 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

days; hectoring their tub-built barks in a most unruly style; 
whirling them about, in a manner to make any but a Dutch- 
man giddy, and not unfrequently stranding them upon rocks 
and reefs. Whereupon out of sheer spleen they denominated it 
Hellegat (literally Hell Gut) and solemnly gave it over to the 
devil. This appellation has since been aptly rendered into 
English by the name of Hell Gate ; and into nonsense by the 
name of Hurl Gate, according to certain foreign intruders who 
neither understood Dutch nor English. May St. Nicholas con- 
found them ! 

From this strait to the city of the Manhattoes the borders of 
the Sound are greatly diversified ; in one part, on the eastern 
shore of the island of Manhata and opposite Blackwell's Island, 
being very much broken and indented by rocky nooks, over- 
hung with trees which give them a wild and romantic look. 

The flux and reflux of the tide through this part of the Sound 
is extremely rapid, and the navigation troublesome, by reason 
of the whirling eddies and counter currents. I speak this from 
experience, having been much of a navigator of these small 
seas in my boyhood, and having more than once run the risk 
of shipwreck and drowning in the course of divers holiday voy- 
ages, to which in common with the Dutch urchins I was rather 
prone. 

In the midst of this perilous strait, and hard by a group of 
rocks called "the Hen and Chickens," there lay in my boyish 
days the wreck of a vessel which had been entangled in the 
whirlpools and stranded during a storm. There was some wild 
story about this being the wreck of a pirate, and of some 
bloody murder, connected with it, which I cannot now recol- 
lect. Indeed, the desolate look of this forlorn hulk, and the 
fearful place where it lay rotting, were sufficient to awaken 
strange notions concerning it. A row of timber heads, black- 
ened by time, peered above the surface at high water ; but at 
low tide a considerable part of the hull was bare, and its great 
ribs or timbers, partly stripped of their planks, looked like the 
skeleton of some sea monster. There was also the stump of a 
mast, with a few ropes and blocks swinging about and whistling 
in the wind, while the sea gull wheeled and screamed around 
this melancholy carcass. 

The stones connected with this wreck made it an object of 
.great awe to my boyish fancy ; but in truth the whole neigh- 
borhood was full of fable and romance for me, abounding with 
traditions about pirates, hobgoblins, and buried money. As I 
grew to more mature years I made many researches after the 



KJDD TUB PIE ATS. 201 

truth of these strange traditions ; for I have always been a 
curious investigator of the valuable, but obscure branches of 
the history of my native province. I found infinite difficulty, 
however, in arriving at any precise information. In seeking 
to dig up one fact it is incredible the number of fables which I 
unearthed ; for the whole course of the Sound seemed in my 
younger days to be like the straits of Pylorus of yore, the very 
region of fiction. I will say nothing of the Devil's Stepping 
Stones, by which that arch fiend made his retreat from Con- 
necticut to Long Island, seeing that the subject is likely to be 
learnedly treated by a worthy friend and contemporary his- 
torian l whom I have furnished with particulars thereof. 
Neither will I say any thing of the black man in a three-cor- 
nered hat, seated m the stern of a jolly boat, who used to be 
seen about Hell Gate in stormy weather ; and who went by the 
name of Pirate's Spuke, or Pirate's Ghost, because I never 
could meet with any person of stanch credibility who professed 
to have seen this spectrum ; unless it were the widow of Manns 
Conklin, the blacksmith of Frog's Neck, but then, poor woman, 
she was a little purblind, and might have been mistaken ; 
though they said she saw farther than other folks in the dark. 

AJl this, however, was but little satisfactory in regard to the 
tales of buried money about which I was most curious ; and the 
following was all that I could for a long time collect that had 
any thing like an air of authenticity. 



KIDD THE PIRATE. 

IN old times, just after the territory of the New Netherlands 
had been wrested from the hands of their High Mightinesses, 
the Lords States General of Holland, by Charles the Second, 
and while it was as yet in an unquiet state, the province was a 
favorite resort of adventurers of all kinds, and particularly of 
buccaneers. These were piratical rovers of the deep, who made 
sad work in times of peace among the Spanish settlements and 
Spanish merchant ships. They took advantage of the easy ac- 
cess to the harbor of the Manhattoes, and of the laxity of its 
scarcely-organi^d government, to make it a kind of rendez- 

1 For a very interesting account of the Devil and big Stepping Stones, see the 
learned memoir read before the New York Historical Society since the death of 
Knickerbocker, by hi* friend, au eminent juried, of the place. 



202 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

votis, where they might dispose of their ill-gotten spoils, and 
concert new depredations. Crews of these desperadoes, the 
runagates of every country and clime, might be seen swagger- 
ing, in open day, about the streets of the little burgh ; elbowing 
its quiet Mynheers ; trafficking away their rich outlandish 
plunder, at half price, to the wary merchant, and then squan- 
dering their gains in taverns ; drinking, gambling, singing, 
swearing, shouting, and astounding the neighborhood with 
sudden brawl and ruffian revelry. 

At length the indignation of government was aroused, and it 
was determined to ferret out this vermin brood from the colo- 
nies. Great consternation took place among the pirates on 
finding justice in pursuit of them, and their old haunts turned 
to places of peril. They secreted their money and jewels in 
lonely out-of-the-way places ; buried them about the wild shores 
of the rivers and sea-coast, and dispersed themselves over the 
face of the country. 

Among the agents employed to hunt them by sea was the 
renowned Captain Kidd. He had long been a hardy adven- 
turer, a kind of equivocal borderer, half trader, half smuggler, 
with a tolerable dash of the picaroon. He had traded for some 
time among the pirates, lurking about the seas in a little rakish, 
mosquito-built vessel, prying into all kinds of odd places, as 
busy as a Mother Carey's chicken in a gale of wind. 

This nondescript personage was pitched upon by government 
as the very man to command a vessel fitted out to cruise against 
the pirates, since he knew all their haunts and lurking-places : 
acting upon the shrewd old maxim of "setting a rogue to catch 
a rogue. " Kidd accordingly sailed from New York in the 
Adventure galley, gallantly armed and duly commissioned, and 
steered his course to the Madeiras, to Bonavista, to Madagascar, 
and cruised at the entrance of the Red Sea. Instead, however, 
of making war upon the pirates, he turned pirate himself: 
captured friend or foe ; enriched himself with the spoils of a 
wealthy Indiamau, manned by Moors, though commanded by an 
Englishman, and having disposed of his prize, had the hardi- 
hood to return to Boston, laden with wealth, with a crew of his 
comrades at his heels. 

His fame had preceded him. The alarm was given of the 
reappearance of this cut-purse of the ocean. Measures were 
taken for his arrest ; but he had time, it is said, to bury the 
greater part of his treasures. He even attempted to draw his 
sword and defend himself when arrested ; but was secured and 
thrown into prison, with several of his followers. They were 



KIDD THE PIRATE. 203 

carried to England in a frigate, where they were tried, con- 
demned, and hanged at Execution Dock. Kidd died hard, for 
the rope with which he was first tied up broke with his weight, 
and he tumbled to the ground ; he was tied up a second time, 
and effectually ; from whence arose the story of his having 
been twice hanged. 

Such is the main outline of Kidd's history ; but it has given 
birth to an innumerable progeny of traditions. The circum- 
stance of his having buried great treasures of gold and jewels 
after returning from his cruising set the brains of all the good 
people along the coast in a ferment. There were rumors on 
rumors of great sums found here and there ; sometimes in one 
part of the country, sometimes in another ; of trees and rocks 
bearing mysterious marks ; doubtless indicating the spots where 
treasure lay hidden. Of coins found with Moorish characters, 
the plunder of Kidd's eastern prize, but which the common 
people took for diabolical or magic inscriptions. 

Some reported the spoils to have been buried in solitary un- 
settled places about Plymouth and Cape Cod ; many other parts 
of the Eastern coast, also, and various places in Long Island 
Sound, have been gilded by these rumors, and have been ran- 
sacked by adventurous money-diggers. 

In all the stories of these enterprises the devil played a con- 
spicuous part. Either he was conciliated by ceremonies and 
invocations, or some bargain or compact was made with him. 
Still he was sure to play the money-diggers some slippery trick. 
Some had succeeded so far as to touch the iron chest which 
contained the treasure, when some baffling circumstance was 
sure to take place. Either the earth would fall in and fill up 
the pit or some direful noise or apparition would throw the 
party into a panic and frighten them from the place ; and some- 
times the devil himself would appear and bear off the prize 
from their very grasp ; and if they visited the place on the next 
day, not a trace would be seen of their labors of the preceding 
night. 

Such were the vague rumors which for a long time tantalized 
without gratifying my curiosity on the interesting subject of 
these pirate traditions. There is nothing in this world so hard 
to get at as truth. I sought among my favorite sources of 
authentic information, the oldest inhabitants, and particularly 
the old Dutch wives of the province ; but though I flatter myself 
I am better versed than most men in the curious history of .my 
native province, yet for a long time my inquiries were unat- 
tended with any substantial result. 



204 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

At length it happened, one calm day in the latter part of 
summer, that I was relaxing myself from the toils of severe 
study by a day's amusement in fishing in those waters which 
had been the favorite resort of my boyhood. I was in company 
with several worthy burghers of my native city. Our sport 
was indifferent ; the fish did not bite freely ; and we had fre- 
quently changed our fishing ground without bettering our luck. 
We at length anchored close under a ledge of rocky coast, on 
the eastern side of the island of Manhata. It was a still, warm 
day. The stream whirled and dimpled by us without a wave 
or even a ripple, and every thing was so calm and quiet that 
it was almost startling when the kingfisher would pitch himself 
from the branch of some dry tree, and after suspending him- 
self for a moment in the air to take his aim, would souse into 
the smooth water after his prey. While we were lolling in our 
boat, half drowsv with the warm stillness of the dav, and the 

' * * ' 

dulness of our sport, one of our party, a worthy alderman, was 
overtaken by slumber, and, as he dozed, suffered the sinker of 
his drop-line to lie upon the bottom of the river. On waking, 
he found he had caught something of importance, from the 
weight ; on drawing it to the surface, we were much surprised 
to find a long pistol of very curious and outlandish fashion, 
which, from its rusted condition, and its stock being worm- 
eaten and covered with barnacles, appeared to have been a 
long time under water. The unexpected appearance of this 
document of warfare occasioned much speculation among my 
pacific companions. One supposed it to have fallen there 
during the revolutionary war. Another, from the peculiarity 
of its fashion, attributed it to the voyagers in the earliest days 
of the settlement ; perchance to the renowned Adrian Block, 
who explored the Sound and discovered Block Island, since 
so noted for its cheese. But a third, after regarding it for 
some time, pronounced it to be of veritable Spanish workman- 
ship. 

u I'll warrant," said he, "if this pistol could talk it would 
tell strange stories of hard fights among the Spanish Dons. 
I've not a doubt but it's a relic of the buccaneers of old 
times." 

"Like enough," said another of the party. "There was 
Bradish the pirate, who at the time Lord Bellamont made such 
a stir after the buccaneers, buried money and jewels somewhere 
in these parts or on Long Island ; and then there was Captain 
Kidd " 

" Ah, that Kidd was a daring dog," said an iron- faced Cape 



THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER. 205 

Cod whaler. " There's a fine old song about him, all to the 
tune of 

' My name is Robert Kidd, 
As I sailed, as 1 sailed.' 

And it tells how he gained the devil's good graces by burying 
the Bible ; 

4 1 had the Bible in my hand, 

As I nailed, as 1 sailed, 
And I buried it in the sand, 
As I sailed.' 

Egad, if this pistol had belonged to him I should set some store 
by it out of sheer curiosity. Ah, well, there's an odd story I 
have heard about one Tom Walker, who, they say, dug up some 
of Kicld's buried money ; and as the fish don't seem to bite at 
present, I'll tell it to you to pass away time." 



THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER. 

A FEW miles from Boston, in Massachusetts, there is a deep 
inlet winding several miles into the interior of the country from 
Charles Bay, and terminating in a thickly-wooded swamp, or 
morass. On one side of this inlet is a beautiful dark grove ; 
on the opposite side the land rises abruptly from the water's 
edge, into a high ridge on which grow a few scattered oaks of 
great age and immense size. It was under one of these gigantic 
trees, according to old stories, that Kidd the pirate buried his 
treasure. The inlet allowed a facility to bring the money in a 
boat secretly and at night to the very foot of the hill. The 
elevation of the place permitted a good look-out to be kept that 
no one was at hand, while the remarkable trees formed good 
landmarks by which the place might easily be found again. 
The old stories add, moreover, that the devil presided at the 
hiding of the money, and took it under his guardianship ; but 
this, it is well-known, he always does with buried treasure, par- 
ticularly when it has been ill gotten. Be that as it may, Kidd 
never returned to recover his wealth ; being shortly after seized 
at Boston, sent out to England, and there hanged for a pirate. 

About the year 1727, just at the time when earthquakes were 
prevalent in New England, and shook many tall sinners down 
upon their knees, there lived near this place a meagre miserly 



TALES OF A TRA VELLER. 

fellow of the name of Tom Walker. He had a wife as miserly 
as himself ; they were so miserly that they even conspired to 
cheat each other. Whatever the woman could lay hands on 
she hid away; a hen could not cackle but she was on the 
alert to secure the new-laid egg. Her husband was continually 
prying about to detect her secret hoards, and many and fierce 
were the conflicts that took place about what ought to have 
been common property. They lived in a forlorn-looking house, 
that stood alone and had an air of starvation. A few straggling 
savin trees, emblems of sterility, grew near it ; no smoke ever 
curled from its chimney ; no traveller stopped at its door. A 
miserable horse, whose ribs were as articulate as the bars of 
a gridiron, stalked about a field where a thin carpet of moss, 
scarcely covering the ragged beds of pudding-stone, tantalized 
and balked his hunger ; and sometimes he would lean his head 
over the fence, look piteously at the passer-by, and seem to 
petition deliverance from this land of famine. The house and 
its inmates had altogether a bad name. Tom's wife was a tall 
termagant, fierce of temper, loud of tongue, and strong of arm. 
Her voice was often heard in wordy warfare with her husband ; 
and his face sometimes showed signs that their conflicts were 
not confined to words. No one ventured, however, to interfere 
between them ; the lonely wayfarer shrunk within himself at 
the horrid clamor and clapper-clawing ; eyed the den of discord 
askance, and hurried on his way, rejoicing, if a bachelor, in his 
celibacy. 

One day that Tom Walker had been to a distant part of the 
neighborhood, he took what he considered a short cut home- 
wards through the swamp. Like most short cuts, it was an 
ill-chosen route. The swamp was thickly grown with great 
gloomy pines and hemlocks, some of them ninety feet high ; 
which made it dark at noon-day, and a retreat for all the owls 
of the neighborhood. It was full of pits and quagmires, partly 
covered with weeds and mosses ; where the green surface often 
betrayed the traveller into a gulf of black smothering mud ; 
there were also dark and stagnant pools, the abodes of the tad- 
pole, the bull-frog, and the water-snake, and where trunks of 
pines and hemlocks lay half drowned, half rotting, looking like 
alligators, sleeping in the mire. 

Tom had long been picking his way cautiously through this 
treacherous forest ; stepping from tuft to tuft of rushes and 
roots which afforded precarious footholds among deep sloughs ; 
or pacing carefully, like a cat, among the prostrate trunks of 
trees ; startled now and then by the sudden screaming of the 



THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER. 20T 

bittern, or the quacking of a wild duck, rising on the wing from 
some solitary pool. At length he arrived at a piece of firm 
ground, which ran out like a peninsula into the deep bosom of 
the swamp. It had been one of the strongholds of the Indians 
during their wars with the first colonists. Here they had thrown 
up a kind of fort which they had looked upon as almost impreg- 
nable, and had used as a place of refuge for their squaws and 
children. Nothing remained of the Indian fort but a few em- 
bankments gradually sinking to the level of the surrounding 
earth, and already overgrown in part by oaks and other forest 
trees, the foliage of which formed a contrast to the dark pines 
and hemlocks of the swamp. 

It was late in the dusk of evening that Tom Walker reached 
the old fort, and he paused there for a while to rest himself. 
Any one but he would have felt unwilling to linger in this lonely, 
melancholy place, for the common people had a bad opinion of 
it from the stories handed clown from the time of the Indian 
wars ; when it was asserted that the savages held incantations 
here and made sacrifices to the evil spirit. Tom Walker, 
however, was not a man to be troubled with any fears of the 
kind. 

He reposed himself for some time on the trunk of a fallen 
hemlock, listening to the boding cry of the tree-toad, and delv- 
ing with his walking-staff into a mound of black mould at his 
feet. As he turned up the soil unconsciously, his staff struck 
against something hard. He raked it out of the vegetable 
mould, and lo ! a cloven skull with an Indian tomahawk buried 
deep in it, lay before him. The rust on the weapon showed the 
time that had elapsed since this death blow had been given. 
It was a dreary memento of the fierce struggle that had taken 
place in this last foothold of the Indian warriors. 

44 Humph ! " said Tom Walker, as he gave the skull a kick to 
shake the dirt from it. 

44 Let that skull alone ! " said a gruff voice. 

Tom lifted up his eyes and beheld a great black man, seated 
directly opposite him on the stump of a tree. He was exceed- 
ingly surprised, having neither seen nor heard any one approach, 
and he was still more perplexed on observing, as well as the 
gathering gloom would permit, that the stranger was neither 
negro nor Indian. It is true, he was dressed in a rude, half 
Indian garb, and had a red belt or sash swathed round his body, 
but his face was neither black nor copper color, but swarthy 
and dingy and begrimed with soot, as if he had been accustomed 
to toil among fires and forges. He had a shock of coarse black 



208 TALKS OF A TRAVELLER. 

hair, that stood out from his head in all directions ; and bore an 
axe on his shoulder. 

He scowled for a moment at Tom with a pair of great red 
eyes. 

44 What are you doing in my grounds? " said the Jblack man, 
with a hoarse growling voice. 

44 Your grounds?" said Tom, ^ritli a sneer; "no more your 
grounds than mine : they belong 1$ Deacon Peabody." 

"Deacon Peabody be d d," said the stranger, u as I 

flatter myself he will be, if he does not look more to his own 
sins and less to his neighbor's. Look yonder, and see how 
Deacon Peabody is faring." 

Tom looked in the direction that the stranger pointed, and 
beheld one of the great trees, fair and flourishing without, 
but rotten at the core, and saw that it had been nearly hewn 
through, so that the first high wind was likely to blow it down. 
On the bark of the tree was scored the name of Deacon Pea- 
body. He now looked round and found most of the tall trees 
marked with the names of some great men of the colony, and 
all more or less scored by the axe. The one on which he had 
been seated, and which had evidently just been hewn down, bore 
the name of Crowninshield ; and he recollected a mighty rich 
man of that name, who made a vulgar display of wealth, which 
it was whispered he had acquired by buccaneering. 

44 He's just ready for burning ! " said the black man, with a 
growl of triumph. 44 You see I am likely to have a good stock 
of firewood for winter." 

44 But what fight have you," said Tom, " to cut down Deacon 
Peabody 's timber? " 

44 The right of prior claim," said the other. "This wood- 
land belonged to me long before one of your white-faced race 
put foot upon the soil." 

44 And pray, who are you, if I may be so bold? " said Tom. 

44 Oh, I go by various names. I am the Wild Huntsman in 
some countries ; the Black Miner iu others. In this neighbor- 
hood I am known by the name of the Black Woodsnmn. I am 
he to whom the red men devoted this spot, and now and then 
roasted a white man by way of sweet-smelling sacrifice. Since 
the red men have been exterminated by you white savages, I 
amuse myself by presiding at the persecutions of Quakers and 
Anabaptists ; I am the great patron and prompter of slave 
dealers, and the grand master of the Salem witches." 

44 The upshot of all which is, that, if I mistake not," said 
Tom, sturdily, u you are he commonly called Old Scratch." 



THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER. 209 

" The same at your service ! " replied the black man, with a 
half civil nod. 

Such was the opening of this interview, according to the old 
story, though it has almost too familiar an air to be credited. 
One would think that to meet with such a singular personage 
in this wild, lonely place, wawJd have shaken any man's nerves : 
but Tom was a hard-mindefBillow, not easily daunted, and he 
had lived so long with a teppgant wife, that he did not even 
fear the devil. 

It is said that after this commencement they had a long and 
earnest conversation together, as Tom returned homewards. 
The black man told him of great sums of money which had 
been buried by Kidd the pirate, under the oak trees on the high 
ridge not far from the morass. All these were under his com- 
mand and protected by his power, so that none could find them 
but such as propitiated his favor. These he offered to place 
within Tom Walker's reach, having conceived an especial kind- 
ness for him : but they were to be had only on certain condi- 
tions. What these conditions were, may easily be surmised, 
though Tom never disclosed them publicly. They must have 
been very hard, for he required time to think of them, and he 
was not a man to stick at trifles where money was in view. 
When they had reached the edge of the swamp the stranger 
paused. 

14 What proof have I that all that you have been telling me is 
true?" said Tom. 

"There is my signature," said the black man, pressing his 
finger on Tom's forehead. So saying, he turned off among the 
thickets of the swamp, and seemed, as Tom said, to go down, 
down, down, into the earth, until nothing but his head and 
shoulders could be seen, and so on until he totally disappeared. 

When Tom reached home he found the black print of a fin- 
ger burnt, as it were, into his forehead, which nothing could 
obliterate. 

The first news his wife had to tell him was the sudden death of 
Absalom Crowninshield, the rich buccaneer. It was announced 
in the papers with the usual flourish, that "a great man had 
fallen in Israel." 

Tom recollected the tree which his black friend had just hewn 
down, and which was ready for burning. " Let the freebooter 
roast," said Tom, " who cares ! " He now felt convinced that 
all he had heard and seen was no illusion. 

He was not prone to let his wife into his confidence ; but as 
this was an uneasy secret, he willingly shared it with her. Ail 



210 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

her avarice was awakened at the mention of hidden gold, and 
she urged her husband to comply with the black man's terms 
and secure what would make him wealthy for life. However 
Tom might have felt disposed to sell himself to the devil, he 
was determined not to do so to oblige his wife ; so he flatly 
refused out of the mere spirit of contradiction. Many and bit- 
ter were the quarrels they had on the subjept, but the more she 
talked the more resolute was Tom not to be damned to please 
her. At length she determined to drive the bargain on her own 
account, and if she succeeded, to keep all the gain to herself. 

Being of the same fearless temper as her husband, she set 
off for the old Indian fort towards the close of a summer's day. 
She was many hours absent. When she came back she was 
reserved and sullen in her replies. She spoke something of a 
black mail whom she had met about twilight, hewing at the 
root of a tall tree. He was sulky, however, and would not 
come to terms ; she was to go again with a propitiatory offer- 
ing, but what it was she forbore to say. 

The next evening she set off again for the swamp, with her 
apron heavily laden. Tom waited and waited for her, but in 
vain : midnight came, but she did not make her appearance ; 
morning, noon, night returned, but still she did not come. Tom 
now grew uneasy for her safety ; especially as he found she 
had carried off in her apron the silver tea pot and spoons and 
every portable article of value. Another night elapsed, another 
morning came ; but no wife. In a word, she was never heard 
of more. 

What was her real fate nobody knows, in consequence of so 
many pretending to know. It is one of those facts that have 
become confounded by a variety of historians. Some asserted 
that she lost her way among the tangled mazes of the swamp 
and sunk into some pit or slough ; others, more uncharitable, 
hinted that she had eloped with the household booty, and made 
off to some other province ; while others assert that the tempter 
had decoyed her into some dismal quagmire, on top of which 
her hat was found lying. In confirmation of this, it was said a 
great black man with an axe on his shoulder was seen late that 
very evening coming out of the swamp, carrying a bundle tied 
in a check apron, with an air of surly triumph. 

The most current and probable stoty, however, observes that 
Tom Walker grew so anxious about the fate of his wife and 
his property that he set out at length to seek them both 
at the Indian fort. During a long summer's afternoon he 
searched about the gloomy place, but no wife was to be seen. 



THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER. 211 

He called her name repeatedly, but she was nowhere to be 
heard. The bittern alone responded to his voice, as he flew 
screaming by ; or the bull-frog croaked dolefully from a neigh- 
boring pool. At length, it is said, just in the brown hour of 
twilight, when the owls began to hoot and the bats to flit about, 
his attention was attracted by the clamor of carrion crows that 
were hovering about a cypress tree. He looked and beheld a 
bundle tied in a check apron and hanging in the branches of 
a tree ; with a great vulture perched hard by, as if keeping 
watch upon it. He leaped with joy, for he recognized his 
wife's apron, and supposed it to contain the household valua- 
bles. 

44 Let us get hold of the property," said he consolingly to 
himself, 44 and we will endeavor to do without the woman." 

As he scrambled up the tree the vulture spread its wide 
wings, and sailed off screaming into the deep shadows of the 
forest. Tom seized the check apron, but, woful sight ! found 
nothing but a heart and liver tied up in it. 

Such, according to the most authentic old stoiy, was all that 
was to be found of Tom's wife. She had probably attempted 
to deal with the black man as she had been accustomed to deal 
with her husband ; but though a female scold is generally con- 
sidered a match for the devil, yet in this instance she appears 
to have had the worst of it. She must have died game, how- 
ever : from the part that remained uncouquered. Indeed, it is 
said Torn noticed many prints of cloven feet deeply stamped 
about the tree, and several handfuls of hair that looked as if 
they had been plucked from the coarse black shock of the 
woodsman. Tom knew his wife's prowess by experience. He 
shrugged his shoulders as he looked at the signs of a fierce 
clapper-clawing. u Kgad," said he to himself , 44 Old Scratch 
must have had a tough time of it ! " 

Tom consoled himself for the loss of his property by the loss 
of his wife ; for he was a little of a philosopher. He even felt 
something like gratitude towards the black woodsman, who he 
considered had done him a kindness. He sought, therefore, to 
cultivate a farther acquaintance with him, but for some time 
without success ; the old black legs played shy, for whatever 
people may think, he is not always to be had for calling for ; 
he knows how to play his cards when pretty sure of his game. 

At length, it is said, when delay had whetted Tom's eager- 
ness to the quick, and prepared him to agree to any thing 
rather than not gain the promised treasure, he met the black 
man one evening in his usual woodsman dress, with his axe on 



TALES Of A TRAVELLER. 

Ms shoulder, sauntering along the edge of the swamp, and 
humming a tune. He affected to receive Tom's advance with 
great indifference, made brief replies, and went on humming 
his tune. 

By degrees, however, Tom brought him to business, and 
they began to haggle about the terms on which the former was 
to have the pirate's treasure. There was one condition which 
need not be mentioned, being generally understood in all cases 
where the devil grants favors ; but there were others about 
which, though of less importance, he was inflexibly obstinate. 
He insisted that the money found through his means should 
be employed in his service. He proposed, therefore, that Tom 
should employ it in the black traffic; that is to say, that he 
should fit out a slave ship. This, however, Tom resolutely 
refused ; he was bad enough, in all conscience ; but the devil 
himself could not tempt him to turn slave dealer. 

Finding Tom so squeamish on this point, he did not insist 
upon it, but proposed instead that he should turn usurer ; the 
devil being extremely anxious for the increase of usurers, look- 
ing upon them as his peculiar people. 

To this- no objections were made, for it was just to Tom's 
taste. 

" You shall open a broker's shop in Boston next month," 
said the black man. 

"I'll doit to-morrow, if you wish," said Tom Walker. 

" You shall lend money at two per cent a month." 

" Egad, I'll charge four ! " replied Tom Walker. 

u You shall extort bonds, foreclose mortgages, drive the mer- 
chant to bankruptcy " 

44 I'll drive him to the d 1," cried Tom Walker, eagerly. 

"You are the usurer for my money! " said the black legs, 
with delight. " When will you want the rhino? " 

"This very night." 

" Done ! " said the devil. 

"Done!" said Tom Walker. So they shook hands and 
struck a bargain. 

A few days' time saw Tom Walker seated behind his desk in 
a counting house in Boston. His reputation for a ready-moneyed 
man, who would lend money out for a good consideration, soon 
spread abroad. Everybody remembers the days of Governor 
Belcher, when money was particularly scarce. It was a time of 
paper credit. The country had been deluged with government 
bills ; the famous Land Bank had been established ; there had 
been a rage for speculating; the people had run mad with 



THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER. 213 

schemes for new settlements ; for building cities in the wilder- 
ness ; land jobbers went about with maps of grants, and town- 
ships, and El Dorados, lying nobody knew where, but which 
everybody was ready to purchase. In a word, the great specu- 
lating fever which breaks out every now and then in the country, 
had raged to an alarming degree, and everybody was dreaming 
of making sudden fortunes from nothing. As usual, the fever 
had subsided ; the dream had gone off, and the imaginary for- 
tunes with it ; the patients were left in doleful plight, and the 
whole country resounded with the consequent cry of "hard 
times." 

At this propitious time of public distress did Tom Walker set 
up as a usurer in Boston. His door was soon thronged by cus- 
tomers. The needy and the adventurous ; the gambling specu- 
lator ; the dreaming land jobber ; the thriftless tradesman ; the 
merchant with cracked credit ; in short, every one driven to 
raise money by desperate means and desperate sacrifices, hurried 
to Tom Walker. 

Thus Tom was the universal friend of the needy, and he acted 
like a u friend in need ; " that is to say, he always exacted good 
pay and good security. In proportion to the distress of the 
applicant was the hardness of his terms. He accumulated 
bonds and mortgages ; gradually squeezed his customers closer 
and closer ; and sent them, at length, dry as a sponge from his 
door. 

In this way he made money hand over hand ; became a rich 
and mighty man, and exalted his cocked hat upon 'change. He 
built himself, as usual, a vast house, out of ostentation ; but 
left the greater part of it unfinished and unfurnished out of 
parsimony. He even set up a carriage in the fulness of his 
vainglory, though he nearly starved the horses which drew it ; 
and as the ungreased wheels groaned and screeched on the axle- 
trees, you would have thought you heard the souls of the poor 
debtors he was squeezing. 

As Tom waxed old, however, he grew thoughtful. Having 
secured the good things of this world, he began to feel anxious 
about those of the next. He thought with regret on the bargain 
he had made with his black friend, and set his wits to work to 
cheat him out of the conditions. He became, therefore, all of 
a sudden, a violent church-goer. He prayed loudly and strenu- 
ously as if heaven were to be taken by force of lungs. Indeed, 
one might always tell when he had sinned most during the week, 
by the clamor of his Sunday devotion. The quiet Christiana 
who had been modestly and steadfastly travelling Zionward, were 



814 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

strode with self-reproach at seeing themselves so suddenly out- 
stripped in their career by this new-made convert. Tom was as 
rigid in religious, as in money matters ; he was a stern supervisor 
and censurer of his neighbors, and seemed to think every sin 
entered up to their account became a credit on his own side of 
the page. He even talked of the expediency of reviving the 
persecution of Quakers and Anabaptists. In a word, Tom's 
zeal became as notorious as his riches. 

Still, in spite of all this strenuous attention to forms, Tom 
had a lurking dread that the devil, after all, would have his 
due. That he might not be taken unawares, therefore, it is said 
he always carried a small Bible in his coat pocket. He had 
also a great folio Bible on his counting-house desk, and would 
frequently be found reading it when people called on business ; 
on such occasions he would lay his green spectacles on the 
book, to mark the place, while he turned round to drive some 
usurious bargain. 

Some say that Tom grew a little crack-brained in his old 
days, and that, fancying his end approaching, he had his horse 
new shod, saddled and bridled, and buried with his feet upper- 
most ; because he supposed that at the last day the world would 
be turned upside down ; in which case he should find his horse 
standing ready for mounting, and he was determined at the 
worst to give his old friend a run for it. This, however, is 
probably a mere old wives' fable. If he really did take such a 
precaution it was totally superfluous ; at least so says the 
authentic old legend, which closes his story in the following 
manner : 

On one hot afternoon in the dog days, just as a terrible black 
thunder-gust was coming up, Tom sat in his counting-house in 
his white linen cap and India silk morning-gown. He was on 
the point of foreclosing a mortgage, by which he would com- 
plete the ruin of an unlucky land speculator for whom he had 
professed the greatest friendship. The poor land jobber begged 
him to grant a few months' indulgence. Tom had grown testy 
and irritated, and refused another day. 

"My family will be ruined and brought upon the parish," 
said the land jobber. " Charity begins at home," replied Tom, 
44 1 must take care of myself in these hard times." 

44 You have made so much money out of me," said the specu- 
lator. 

Tom lost his patience and his piety " The devil take me," 
said he, " if I have made a farthing ! " 

Just then there were three loud knocks at the street door. 



THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER. 215 

He stepped out to see who was there. A black man was hold- 
ing a black horse which neighed and stamped with impatience. 

"Tom, you're come for!" said the black fellow, gruffly. 
Tom shrunk back, but too late. He had left his little Bible 
at the bottom of his coat pocket, and his big Bible on the desk 
buried under the mortgage he was about to foreclose : never 
was sinner taken more unawares. The black man whisked him 
like a child astride the horse and away he galloped in the midst 
of a thunder-storm. The clerks stuck their pens behind their 
ears and stared after him from the windows. Away went Tom 
Walker, dashing down the street; his white cap bobbing up 
and down ; his morning-gown fluttering in the wind, and his 
steed striking fire out of the pavement at every bound. When 
the clerks turned to look for the black man he had disappeared. 

Tom Walker never returned to foreclose the mortgage. A 
countryman who lived on the borders of the swamp, reported 
that in the height of the thunder-gust he had heard a great 
clattering of hoofs and a howling along the road, and that when 
he ran to the window he just caught sight of a figure, such as 
I have described, on a horse that galloped like mad across the 
fields, over the hills and down into the black hemlock swamp 
towards the old Indian fort ; and that shortly after a thunder- 
bolt fell in that direction which seemed to set the whole forest 
in a blaze. 

The good people of Boston shook their heads and shrugged 
their shoulders, but had been so much accustomed to witches 
and goblins and tricks of the devil in all kinds of shapes from 
the first settlement of the colony, that they were not so much 
horror-struck as might have been expected. Trustees were ap- 
pointed to take charge of Tom's effects. There was nothing, 
however, to administer upon. On searching his coffers all his 
bonds and mortgages were found reduced to cinders. In place 
of gold and silver, his iron chest was filled with chips and shav- 
ings ; two skeletons lay in his stable instead of his half-starved 
horses, and the very next day his great house took fire and 
was burnt to the ground. 

Such was the end of Tom Walker and his ill-gotten wealth. 
Let all griping money-brokers lay this story to heart. The 
truth of it is not to be doubted. The very hole under the oak 
trees, from whence he dug Kidd's money, is to be seen to this 
day ; and the neighboring swamp and old Indian fort is often 
haunted in stormy nights by a figure on horseback, in a morn- 
ing-gown and white cap, which is doubtless the troubled spirit 
of the usurer. In fact, the story has resolved itself into a prov- 



216 TALKS OF A TRAVELLER. 

erb, and is the origin of that popular saying prevalent through* 
out New England, of " The Devil and Tom Walker." 

Such, as nearly as I can recollect, was the tenor of the tale 
told by the Cape Cod whaler. There were divers trivial par- 
ticulars which I have omitted, and which wiled away the morn- 
ing very pleasantly, until the time of tide favorable for fishing 
being passed, it was proposed that we should go to land, and 
refresh ourselves under the trees, until the noontide heat should 
have abated. 

We accordingly landed on a delectable part of the island of 
Mannahata, in that shady and embowered tract formerly under 
dominion of the ancient family of the Hardenbrooks. It was 
a spot well known to me in the course of the aquatic expe- 
ditious of my boyhood. Not far from where we landed, was 
an old Dutch family vault, in the side of a bank, which had 
been an object of great awe and fable among my schoolboy 
associates. There were several mouldering coffins within ; but 
what gave it a fearful interest with us, was its being connected 
in our minds with the pirate wreck which lay among the rocks 
of Hell Gate. There were also stories of smuggling connected 
with it, particularly during a time that this retired spot was 
owned by a noted burgher called Ready Money Prevost ; a man 
of whom it was whispered that he had many and mysterious 
dealings with parts beyond seas. All these things, however, 
had been jumbled together in our miuds in that vague way in 
which such things are mingled up in the tales of boyhood. 

While I was musing upon these matters my companions had 
spread a repast, from the contents of our well-stored pannier, 
and we solaced ourselves during the warm sunny hours of mid- 
day under the shade of a broad chestnut, on the cool grassy 
carpet that swept down to the water's edge. While lolling on 
the grass I summoned up the dusky recollections of my boyhood 
respecting this place, and repeated them like the imperfectly 
remembered traces of a dream, for the entertainment of my 
companions. When I had finished, a worthy old burgher, John 
Josse Vandermoere, the same who once related to me the adven- 
tures of Dolph Heyliger, broke silence and observed, that he 
recollected a story about money-digging which occurred in this 
very neighborhood. As we knew him to be one of the most 
authentic narrators of the province we begged him to let us have 
the particulars, and accordingly, while we refreshed ourselves 
with a clean long pipe of Blase Moore's tobacco, the authentic 
John Josse Vandermoere related the following tale. 



WOLFERT WEBBER ; OR, GOLDEN DREAMS. 217 



WOLFERT WEBBER; OR, GOLDEN DREAMS, 

IN the year of grace one thousand seven hundred and blank 
for I do not remember the precise date ; however, it was 
somewhere in the early part of the last century, there lived in 
the ancient city of the Manhattoes a worthy burgher, Wolfert 
Webber by name. He was descended from old Cobus Webber 
of the Brille in Holland, one of the original settlers, famous for 
introducing the cultivation of cabbages, and who came over to 
the province during the protectorship of Oloffe Van Kortlandt, 
otherwise called the Dreamer. 

The field in which Cobus Webber first planted himself and 
his cabbages had remained ever since in the family, who con- 
tinued in the same line of husbandry, with that praiseworthy 
perseverance for which our Dutch burghers are noted. The 
whole family genius, during several generations, was devoted 
to the study and development of this one noble vegetable ; and 
to this concentration of intellect may doubtless be ascribed the 
prodigious size and renown to which the Webber cabbages 
attained. 

The Webber dynasty continued in uninterrupted succession : 
and never did a line give more unquestionable proofs of legiti- 
macy. The eldest son succeeded to the looks, as well as the 
territory of his sire ; and had the portraits of this line of tran- 
quil potentates been taken, they would have presented a row 
pf heads marvellously resembling in shape and magnitude the 
vegetables over which they reigned. 

The seat of government continued unchanged in the family 
mansion : a Dutch-built house, with a front, or rather gable- 
end of yellow brick, tapering to a point, with the customary iron 
weathercock at the top. Every thing about the building bore 
the air of long-settled ease and security. Flights of martins 
peopled the little coops nailed against the walls, and swallows 
built their nests under the eaves ; and every one knows that 
these house-loving birds bring good luck to the dwelling where 
they take up their abode. In a bright sunny morning in early 
summer, it was delectable to hear their cheerful notes, as they 
sported about in the pure, sweet air, chirping forth, as it were, 
the greatness and prosperity of the Webbers. 

Thus quietly and comfortably did this excellent family vege- 
tate under the shade of a mighty button- wood tree, which by 
little and little grew so great as entirely to overshadow their 



218 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

palace. The city gradually spread its suburbs round their 
domain. Houses sprung up to interrupt their prospects. The 
rural lanes in the vicinity began to grow into the bustle and 
populousness of streets ; in short, with all the habits of rustic 
life they began to find themselves the inhabitants of a city. 
Still, however, they maintained their hereditary character, and 
hereditary possessions, with all the tenacity of petty German 
princes in the midst of the Empire. Wolfert was the last of the 
line, and succeeded to the patriarchal bench at the door, under 
the family tree, and swayed the sceptre of his fathers, a kind of 
rural potentate in the midst of a metropolis. 

To share the cares and "sweets of sovereignty, he had taken 
unto himself a helpmate, one of that excellent kind called stir- 
ring women ; that is to say, she was one of those notable little 
housewives who are always busy when there is nothing to do. 
Her activity, however, took one particular direction ; her whole 
life seemed devoted to intense knitting ; whether at home or 
abroad ; walking or sitting, her needles were continually in 
motion, and it is even affirmed that by her unwearied industry she 
very nearly supplied her household with stockings throughout 
the year. This worthy couple were blessed with one daughter, 
who was brought up with great tenderness and care ; uncommon 
pains had been taken with her education, so that she could stitch 
in every variety of way ; make all kinds of pickles and preserves, 
and mark her own name on a sampler. The influence of her 
taste was seen also in the family garden, where the ornamental 
began to mingle with the useful ; whole rows of fiery marigolds 
and splendid hollyhocks bordered the cabbage-beds ; and gigan- 
tic sunflowers lolled their broad, jolly faces over the fences, 
seeming to ogle most affectionately the passers-by. 

Thus reigned and vegetated Wolfert Webber over his paternal 
acres, peaceably and contentedly. Not but that, like all other 
sovereigns, he had his occasional cares and vexations. The 
growth of his native city sometimes caused him annoyance. 
His little territory gradually became hemmed in by streets and 
houses, which intercepted air and sunshine. He was now and 
then subject to the irruptions of the border population, that 
infest the streets of a metropolis, who would sometimes make 
midnight forays into his dominions, and carry off captive whole 
platoons of his noblest subjects. Vagrant swine would make a 
descent, too, now and then, when the gate was left open, and 
lay all waste before them ; and mischievous urchins would often 
decapitate the illustrious sunflowers, the glory of the garden, as 
they lolled their heads so fondly over the walls. Still all these 



WOLFERT WEBBER; OR, GOLDEN DREAMS. 219 

were petty grievances, which might now and then ruffle the sur- 
face of his mind, as a summer breeze will ruffle the surface of 
a mill-pond ; but they could not disturb the deep-seated quiet 
of his soul. He would seize a trusty staff, that stood behind 
the door, issue suddenly out, and anoint the back of the ag- 
gressor, whether pig or urchin, and then return within doors, 
marvellously refreshed and tranquillized. 

The chief cause of anxiety to honest Wolfert, however, was 
the growing prosperity of the city. The expenses of living 
doubled and trebled; but he could not double and treble the 
magnitude of his cabbages; nnd the number of competitors 
prevented the increase of price ; thus, therefore, while every 
one around him grew richer, Wolfert grew poorer, and he could 
not, for the life of him, perceive how the evil was to be reme- 
died. 

This growing care which increased from day to day, had its 
gradual effect upon our worthy burgher; insomuch, that it at 
length implanted two or three wrinkles on his brow ; things 
unknown before in the family of the Webbers ; and it seemed 
to pinch up the cornel's of his cocked hat into an expression of 
anxiety, totally opposite to the tranquil, broad-brimmed, low- 
crowned beavers of his illustrious progenitors. 

Perhaps even this would not have materially disturbed the 
serenity of his mind had he had only himself and his wife to 
care for ; but there was his daughter gradually growing to ma- 
turity ; and all the world knows when daughters begin to ripen 
no fruit, or flower requires so much looking after. 1 have no 
talent at describing female charms, else fain would I depict 
the progress of this little Dutch beauty. How her blue eyes grew 
deeper and deeper, and her cherry lips redder and redder ; and 
how she ripened and ripened, and rounded and rounded in the 
opening breath of sixteen summers, until, in her seventeenth 
spring, she seemed ready to burst out of her bodice like a half- 
blown rose-bud. 

Ah, well-a-day ! could I but show her as she was then, tricked 
out on a Sunday morning in the hereditary finery of the old 
Dutch clothes-press, of which her mother had confided to her 
the key. The wedding dress of her grandmother, modernized 
for use, with sundry ornaments, handed down as heirlooms in 
the family. Her pale brown hair smoothed with buttermilk in 
flat waving lines on each side of her fair forehead. The chain 
of yellow virgin gold, that encircled her neck ; the little cross, 
that just rested at the entrance of a soft valley of happiness, as 
if it would sanctify the place. The but pooh ! it is not 



20 TALE 8 OF A TRAVELLER. 

for an old man like me to lie prosing about female beauty : suf- 
fice it to say, Amy had attained her seventeenth year. Long 
since had her sampler exhibited hearts in couples desperately 
transfixed with arrows, and true lovers' knots worked in deep 
blue silk ; and it was evident she began to languish for some 
more interesting occupation than the rearing of sunflowers or 
pickling of cucumbers. 

At this critical period of female existence, when the heart 
within a damsel's bosom, like its emblem, the miniature which 
hangs without, is apt to be engrossed by a single image, a new 
visitor began to make his appearance under the roof of Wolfeit 
Webber. This was Dirk Waldron, the only son of a poor 
widow, but who could boast of more fathers than any lad in the 
province ; for his mother had had four husbands, and this only 
child, so that though born in her last wedlock, he might fairly 
claim to be the tardy fruit of a long course of cultivation. This 
son of four fathers united the merits and the vigor of his sires. 
If he had not a great family before him, he seemed likely to 
have a great one after him ; for you had only to look at the 
fresh gamesome youth, to see that he was formed to be the 
founder of a mighty race. 

This youngster gradually became an intimate visitor of the 
family. He talked little, but he sat long. He filled the father's 
pipe when it was empty, gathered up the mother's knitting- 
needle or ball of worsted when it fell to the ground ; stroked 
the sleek coat of the tortoise-shell cat, and replenished the tea- 
pot for the daughter from the bright copper kettle that sung 
before the fire. All these quiet little offices may seem of trifling 
import, but when true love is translated into Low Dutch, it is 
in this way that it eloquently expresses itself. They were not 
lost upon the Webber family. The winning youngster found 
marvellous favor in the eyes of the mother ; the tortoise-shell 
cat, albeit the most staid and demure of her kind, gave indu- 
bitable signs of approbation of his visits, the tea-kettle seemed 
to sing out a cheering note of welcome at his approach, and if 
the sly glances of the daughter might be rightly read, as she sat 
bridling and dimpling, and sewing by her mother's side, she 
was not a whit behind Dame Webber, or grimalkin, or the tea- 
kettle in good-will. 

Wolfert alone saw nothing of what was going on. Pro- 
foundly wrapt up in meditation on the growth of the city and 
his cabbages, he sat looking in the fire, and puffing his pipe in 
silence. One night, however, as the gentle Amy, according to 
custom, lighted her lover to the outer door, and he, according 



WOLFERT WEBBER; OJB, GOLDEN DREAMS. 221 

to custom, took his parting salute, the smack resounded so vig- 
orously through the long, silent entry as to startle even the dull 
ear of Wolfert. He was slowly roused to a new source of anx 
iety. It had never entered into his head, that this mere child, 
who, as it seemed but the other day, had been climbing about 
his knees, and playing with dolls and baby-houses, could all at 
once be thinking of love and matrimony. He rubbed his eyes, 
examined into the fact, and really found that while he had been 
dreaming of other matters, she had actually grown into a woman, 
and what was more, had fallen in love. Here were new cares 
for poor Wolfert. He was a kind father, but he was a prudent 
man. The young man was a very stirring lad ; but then he had 
neither money nor land. Wolfert's ideas all ran in one channel, 
and he saw no alternative in case of a marriage, but to portion 
off the young couple with a corner of his cabbage garden, the 
whole of which was barely sufficient for the support of his 
family. 

Like a prudent father, therefore, he determined to nip this 
passion in the bud, and forbade the youngster the house, though 
sorely did it go against his fatherly heart, and many a silent 
tear did it cause in the bright eye of his daughter. She showed 
herself, however, a pattern of filial piety and obedience. She 
never pouted and sulked ; she never flew in the face of parental 
authority ; she never fell into a passion, or fell into hysterics, 
as many romantic novel- read young ladies would do. Not she, 
indeed ! She was none such heroical rebellious trumpery, I 
warrant ye. On the contrary, she acquiesced like an obedient 
daughter; shut the street-door in her lover's face, and if ever 
she did grant him an interview, it was either out of the kitchen 
window, or over the garden fence. 

Wolfert was deeply cogitating these things in his mind, and 
his brow wrinkled with unusual care, as he wended his way one 
Saturday afternoon to a rural inn, about two miles from the 
city. It was a favorite resort of the Dutch part of the com- 
munity from being always held by a Dutch line of landlords, 
and retaining an air and relish of the good old times. It was 
a Dutch-built house, that had probably been a country seat of 
some opulent burgher in the early time of the settlement. It 
stood near a point of land, called Corlears Hook, which stretches 
out into the Sound, and against which the tide, at its flux and 
reflux, sets with extraordinary rapidity. The venerable and some- 
what crazy mansion was distinguished from afar, by a grove 
of elms and sycamores that seemed to wave a hospitable invi- 
tation, while a few weeping willows with their dank, drooping 



222 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

foliage, resembling falling waters, gave an idea of coolness, 
that rendered it an attractive spot during the heats of summer. 

Here, therefore, as I said, resorted many of the old inhabit- 
ants of the Manhattoes, where, while some played at the shuffle- 
board and quoits and ninepins, others smoked a deliberate pipe, 
and talked over public affairs. 

It was on a blustering autumnal afternoon that Wolfert made 
his visit to the inn. The grove of elms and willows was stripped 
of its leaves, which whirled in rustling eddies about the fields. 
The ninepin alley was deserted, for the premature chilliness of 
the day had driven the company within doors. As it was Sat- 
urday afternoon, the habitual club was in session, composed 
principally of regular Dutch burghers, though miugled occasion- 
ally with persons of various character and country, as is natural 
in a place of such motley population. 

Beside the fireplace, and in a huge leather-bottomed arm- 
chair, sat the dictator of this little world, the venerable Rem, 
or, as it was pronounced, Ramm Rapelye. He was a man of 
Walloon race, and illustrious for the antiquity of his line, his 
great grandmother having been the first white child born in 
the province. But he was still more illustrious for his wealth 
and dignity: he had long filled the noble office of alderman, 
and was a man to whom the governor himself took off his hat. 
He had maintained possession of the leathern-bottomed chair 
from time immemorial ; and had gradually waxed in bulk as 
he sat in his seat of government, until in the course of years 
he filled its whole magnitude. His word was decisive with his 
subjects ; for he was so rich a man, that he was never expected 
to support any opinion by argument. The landlord waited on 
him with peculiar officiousness ; not that he paid better than 
his neighbors, but then the coin of a rich man seems always to 
be so much more acceptable. The landlord had always a pleas- 
ant word and a joke, to insinuate in the ear of the august Ramm. 
It is true, Ramm never laughed, and, indeed, maintained a 
mastiff-like gravity, and even surliness of aspect, yet he now 
and then rewarded mine host with a token of approbation ; 
which, though nothing more nor less than a kind of grunt, yet de- 
lighted the landlord more than a broad laugh from a poorer man. 

"This will be a rough night for the money-diggers," said 
mine host, as a gust of wind howled round the house, and rat- 
tled at the windows. 

"What, are they at their works again?'* said an English, 
half-pay captain, with one eye, who was a frequent attendant 
at the inn. 



WOLFERT WEBBER; OR, GOLDEN DREAMS. 228 

"Ay, are they," said the landlord, "and well may they be. 
They've had luck of late. They say a great pot of money has 
been dug up in the field, just behind Stuyvesant's orchard. 
Folks think it must have been buried there in old times, by 
Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch Governor." 

44 Fudge!" said the one-eyed man of war, as he added a 
small portion of water to a bottom of brandy. 

44 Well, you may believe, or not, as you please," said mine 
host, somewhat nettled; 4t but everybody knows that the old 
governor buried a great deal of his money at the time of the 
Dutch troubles, when the English red-coats seized on the prov- 
ince. They say, too, the old gentleman walks ; ay, and in the 
very same dress that he wears in the picture which hangs up in 
the family house." 

44 Fudge ! " said the half-pay officer. 

44 Fudge, if you please ! But didn't Corney Van Zandt see 
him at midnight, stalking about in the meadow with his wooden 
leg, and a drawn sword in his hand, that flashed like fire? And 
what etui he be walking for, but because people have been 
troubling the place where he buried his money in old times?" 

Here the landlord was interrupted by several guttural sounds 
from Ramrn Rapelye, betokening that he was laboring with the 
unusual production of an idea. 'As he was too great a man to 
be slighted by a prudent publican, mine host respectfully paused 
until he should deliver himself. The corpulent frame of this 
mighty burgher now gave all the symptoms of a volcanic 
mountain on the point of an eruption. First, there was a 
certain heaving of the abdomen, not unlike an earthquake ; 
then was emitted a cloud of tobacco smoke from that crater, 
his mouth ; then there was a kind of rattle in the throat, as 
if the idea were working its way up through a region of phlegm ; 
then there were several disjointed members of a sentence 
thrown out, ending in a cough ; at length his voice forced its 
way in the slow, but absolute tone of a man who feels the 
weight of his purse, if not of his ideas ; every portion of his 
speech being marked by a testy puff of tobacco smoke. 

44 Who talks of old Peter Stuyvesant's walking? puff 
Have people no respect for persons ? puff puff Peter 
Stuyvesant knew better what to do with his money than to bury 
it puff' I know the Stuyvesaut family puff every one of 
them puff not a more respectable family in the province 
puff old standers puff warm householders puff none 
of your upstarts puff puff puff. Don't talk to me of 
Peter Stuyvesant's walking puff puff puff puff. ' ' 



TAL&S OF A TRAVELLER. 

Here the redoubtable Ramm contracted his brow, clasped up 
his mouth, till it wrinkled at each corner, and redoubled his 
smoking with such vehemence, that the cloudy volumes soon 
wreathed round his head, as the smoke envelops the awful 
summit of Mount Etna. 

A general silence followed the sudden rebuke of this very 
rich man. The subject, however, was too interesting to be 
readily abandoned. The conversation soon broke forth again 
from the lips of Peechy Prauw Van Hook, the chronicler of the 
club, one of those narrative old men who seem to grow incon- 
tinent of words, as they grow old until their talk flows from 
them almost involuntarily. 

Peechy, who could at any time tell as many stories in an 
evening as his hearers could digest in a month, now resumed 
the conversation, by affirming that, to his knowledge, money 
had at different times been dug up in various parts of the 
island. The lucky persons who had discovered them had 
always dreamt of them three times beforehand, and what was 
worthy of remark, these treasures had never been found but by 
some descendant of the good old Dutch families, which clearly 
proved that they had been buried by Dutchmen in the olden 
time. 

44 Fiddle-stick with your Dutchmen!" cried the half- pay 
officer. "The Dutch had nothing to do with them. They 
were all buried by Kicld, the pirate, and his crew." 

Here a key-note was touched that roused the whole company. 
The name of Captain Kicld was like a talisman in those times, 
and was associated with a thousand marvellous stories. 

The half-pay officer was a man of great weight among the 
peaceable members of the club, by reason of his military char- 
acter, and of the gunpowder scenes which, by his own account, 
he had witnessed. 

The golden stories of Kidd, however, were resolutely rivalled 
by the tales of Peechy Prauw, who, rather than suffer his 
Dutch progenitors to be eclipsed by a foreign freebooter, en- 
riched every spot in the neighborhood with the hidden wealth of 
Peter Stuyvesant and his contemporaries. 

Not a word of this conversation was lost upon Wolfert Web- 
ber. He returned pensively home, full of magnificent ideas of 
buried riches. The soil of his native island seemed to be turned 
into gold-dust ; and every field teemed with treasure. His head 
almost reeled at the thought how often he must have heedlessly 
rambled over places where countless sums lay, scarcely covered 
by the turf beneath his feet. His mind was in a vertigo with this 



WOLFERT WEBBER; OR, GOLDEN DREAMS. 225 

whirl of new ideas. As he came in sight of the venerable man- 
sion of his forefathers, and the little realm where the Webbers 
had so long and so contentedly flourished, his gorge rose at the 
narrowness of his destiny. 

"Unlucky Wolfert! " exclaimed he, "others can go to bed 
and dream themselves into whole mines of wealth ; they have 
but to seize a spade in the morning, and turn up doubloons 
like potatoes ; but thou must dream of hardship, and rise to 
poverty must dig thy field from year's end to year's end, 
and and yet raise nothing but cabbages ! " 

Wolfert Webber went to bed with a heavy heart ; and it was 
long before the golden visions that disturbed his brain, per- 
mitted him to sink into repose. The same visions, however, 
extended into his sleeping thoughts, and assumed a more defi- 
nite form. He dreamt that he had discovered an immense 
treasure in the centre of his garden. At every stroke of the 
spade he laid bare a golden ingot ; diamond crosses sparkled 
out of the dust ; bags of money turned up their bellies, corpu- 
lent with pieces of eight, or venerable doubloons ; and chests, 
wedged close with moidores, ducats, and pistareens, j^awned 
before his ravished eyes, and vomited forth their glittering 
contents. 

Wolfert awoke a poorer man than ever. He had no heart 
to go about his daily concerns, which appeared so paltry and 
profitless ; but sat all day long in the chimney-corner, pictur- 
ing to himself ingots and heaps of gold in the fire. The next 
night his dream was repeated. He was again hi his garden, 
digging, and laying open stores of hidden wealth. There was 
something very singular in this repetition. He passed another 
day of reverie, and though it was cleaning-day, and the house, 
as usual in Dutch households, completely topsy-turvy, yet he 
sat unmoved amidst the general uproar. 

The third night he went to bed with a palpitating heart. He 
put on his red night-cap, wrong side outwards for good luck. It 
was deep midnight before his anxious mind could settle itself 
into sleep. Again the golden dream was repeated, and again 
he saw his garden teeming with ingots and money-bags. 

Wolfert rose the next morning in complete bewilderment. 
A dream three times repeated was never known to lie ; and if 
so, his fortune was made. 

In his agitation he put on his waistcoat with the hind part 
before, and this was a corroboration of good luck. He no 
longer doubted that a huge store of money lay buried some- 
where in his cabbage-field, coyly waiting to be sought for, and 



226 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

he half repined at having so long been scratching about the 
surface of the soil, instead of digging to the centre. 

He took his seat at the breakfast-table full of these specula- 
tions ; asked his daughter to put a lump of gold into his tea, 
and on handing his wife a plate of slap-jacks, begged her to 
help herself to a doubloon. 

His grand care now was how to secure this immense treasure 
without it being known. Instead of working regularly in his 
grounds in the day-time, he now stole from his bed at night, 
and with spade and pickaxe, went to work to rip up and dig 
about his paternal acres, from one end to the other. In a little 
time the whole garden, which had presented such a goodly and 
regular appearance, with its phalanx of cabbages, like a vege- 
table army in battle array, was reduced to a scene of devasta- 
tion, while the relentless Wolfert, with night-cap on head, and 
lantern and spade in hand, stalked through the slaughtered 
ranks, the destroying angel of his own vegetable world. 

Every morning bore testimony to the ravages of the preced- 
ing night in cabbages of all ages and conditions, from the ten- 
der sprout to the full-grown head, piteously rooted from their 
quiet beds like worthless weeds, and left to wither in the sun- 
shine. It was in vain Wolfert's wife remonstrated ; it was in 
vain his darling daughter wept over the destruction of some 
favorite marigold. "Thou shalt have gold of another guess- 
sort," he would cry, chucking her under the chin; "thou 
shalt have a string of crooked ducats for thy wedding-necklace, 
my child." His family began really to fear that the poor 
man's wits were diseased. He muttered in his sleep at night 
of mines of wealth, of pearls and diamonds and bars of gold. 
In the daytime he was moody and abstracted, and walked about 
as if in a trance. Dame Webber held frequent councils witli 
all the old women of the neighlx>rhood, not omitting the parish 
dominie ; scarce an hour in the day but a knot of them might 
be seen wagging their white caps together round her door, 
while the poor woman made some piteous recital. The daugh- 
ter, too, was fain to seek for more frequent consolation from 
the stolen interviews of her favored swain, Dirk Waldron. 
The delectable little Dutch songs with which she used to dulcify 
the house grew less and less frequent, and she would forget 
her sewing and look wistfully in her father's face as he sat pon- 
dering by the fireside. Wolfert caught her eye one day fixed 
on him thus anxiously, and for a moment was roused from his 
golden reveries "Cheer up, my girl," said he, exultingly, 
44 why dost thou droop? thou shalt hold up thy head one day 



WOLFERT WEBBER; OR, GOLDEN DREAMS. 227 

with the Brinckerhoffs and the Schermerhorns, the Van Homes, 
and the Van Dams the patroon himself shall be glad to get 
thee for his son ! ' ' 

Amy shook her head at this vainglorious boast, and was 
more than ever in doubt of the soundness of the good man's 
intellect. 

In the mean time Wolfert went on digging, but the field was 
extensive, and as his dream had indicated no precise spot, he 
had to dig at random. The winter set in before one-tenth of 
the scene of promise had been explored. The ground became 
too frozen and the nights too cold for the labors of the spade. 
No sooner, however, did the returning warmth of spring loosen 
the soil, and the small frogs begin to pipe in the meadows, but 
Wolfert resumed his labors with renovated zeal. Still, how- 
ever, the hours of industry were reversed. Instead of working 
cheerily all day, planting and setting out his vegetables, he re- 
mained thoughtfully idle, until the shades of night summoned 
him to his secret labors. In this way he continued to dig from 
night to night, and week to week, and month to mouth, but 
not a stiver did he find. On the contrary, the more he digged 
the poorer he grew. The rich soil of his garden was digged 
away, and the sand and gravel from beneath were thrown to 
the surface, until the whole field presented an aspect of sandy 
barrenness. 

In the mean time the seasons gradually rolled on. The little 
frogs that had piped in the meadows in early spring, croaked 
as bull-frogs in the brooks during the summer heats, and then 
sunk into silence. The peach tree budded, blossomed, and bore 
its fruit. T.he swallows and martins came, twittered about the 
roof, built their nests, reared their young, held their congress 
along the eaves, and then winged their flight in search of 
another spring. The caterpillar spun its winding-sheet, dangled 
in it from the great buttouwood tree that shaded the house, 
turned into a moth, fluttered with the last sunshine of summer, 
and disappeared ; and finally the leaves of the buttonwood tree 
turned yellow, then brown, then rustled one by one to the 
ground, and whirling about in little eddies of wind and dust, 
whispered that winter was at hand. 

Wolfert gradually awoke from his dream of wealth as the 
year declined. He had reared no crop to supply the wants of 
his household during the sterility of winter. The season was 
long and severe, and for the first time the family was really 
straitened in its comforts. By degrees a revulsion of thought 
took place in Wolfert's mind, common to those whose golden 



228 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

dreams have been disturbed by pinching realities. The idea 
gradually stole upon him that he should come to want. He 
already considered himself one of the most unfortunate men in 
the province, having lost such an incalculable amount of undis- 
covered treasure, and now, when thousands of pounds had 
eluded his search, to be perplexed for shillings and pence was 
cruel in the extreme. 

Haggard care gathered about his brow ; he went about with 
a money-seeking air, his eyes bent downwards into the dust, 
and carrying his hands in his pockets, as men are apt to do 
when they have nothing else to put into them. He could not 
even pass the city ahnshouse without giving it a rueful glance, 
as if destined to be his future alx>de. 

The strangeness of his conduct and of his looks occasioned 
much speculation and remark. For a long time he was sus- 
pected of being crazy, and then everybody pitied him ; at length 
it began to be suspected that he was poor, and then everybody 
avoided him. 

The rich old burghers of his acquaintance met him outside 
of the door when he called, entertained him hospitably on the 
threshold, pressed him warmly by the hand on parting, shook 
their heads as he walked away, with the kind-hearted expres- 
sion of " poor Wolfert," and turned a corner nimbly, if by 
chance they saw him approaching as they walked the streets. 
Even the barber and cobbler of the neighborhood, and a tat- 
tered tailor in an alley hard by, three of the poorest and merri- 
est rogues in the world, eyed him with that abundant sympathy 
which usually attends a lack of means, and there is not a doubt 
but their pockets would have been at his commaqd, only that 
they happened to be empty. 

Thus everybody deserted the Webber mansion, as if poverty 
were contagious, like the plague ; everybody but honest Dirk 
Waldron, who still kept up his stolen visits to the daughter, 
and indeed seemed to wax more affectionate as the fortunes of 
his mistress were on the wane. 

Many months had elapsed since Wolfert had frequented his old 
resort, the rural inn. He was taking a long lonely walk one Sat- 
urday afternoon, musing over his wants and disappointments, 
when his feet took instinctively their wonted direction, and on 
awaking out of a reverie, he found himself before the door of the 
inn. For some moments he hesitated whether to enter, but his 
heart yearned for companionship ; and where can a ruined man 
find better companionship than at a tavern, where there is neither 
sober example nor sober advice to put him oat of countenance? 



WOLFERT WEBBER; OR, GOLDEN DREAMS. 229 

Wolfert found several of the old frequenters of the tavern at 
their usual posts, and seated in their usual places ; but one was 
missing, the great Ramm Rapelye, who for many years had 
filled the chair of state. His place was supplied by a stranger, 
who seemed, however, completely at home in the chair and the 
tavern. He was rather under-size, but deep-chested, square, 
and muscular. His broad shoulders, double joints, and bow- 
knees, gave tokens of prodigious strength. His face was dark 
and weather-beaten ; a deep scar, as if from the slash of a cut- 
lass, had almost divided his nose, and made a gash iu his upper 
lip, through which his teeth shone like a bull-dog's. A mass 
of iron-gray hair gave a grizzly finish to his hard-favored vis- 
age. His dress was of an amphibious character. He wore an 
old hat edged with tarnished lace, and cocked in martial style, 
on one side of his head ; a rusty blue military coat with brass 
buttons, and a wide pair of short petticoat trousers, or rather 
breeches, for they were gathered up at the knees. He ordered 
everybody about him with an authoritative air; talked in a 
brattling voice, that sounded like the crackling of thorns under 
a pot ; damned the landlord and servants with perfect impunity, 
and was waited upon with greater obsequiousness than had ever 
been shown to the mighty llarnm himself. 

Wolfert's curiosity was awakened to know who and what 
was this stranger who had thus usurped absolute sway in this 
ancient domain. He could get nothing, however, but vague 
information. Peechy Prauw took him aside, into a remote 
corner of the hall, and there in an under-voice, and with great 
caution, imparted to him all that he knew on the subject. The 
inn had been aroused several months before, on a dark stormy 
night, by repeated long shouts, that seemed like the howl ings 
of a wolf. They came from the water-side ; and at length were 
distinguished to be hailing the house in a sea-faring manner. 
" House-a-hoy ! " The landlord turned out with his head- 
waiter, tapster, hostler, and errand boy that is to say, with 
his old negro Cuff. On approaching the place from whence the 
voice proceeded, they found this amphibious-looking personage 
at the water's edge, quite alone, and seated on a great oaken 
sea-chest. How he came there, whether he had been set on 
shore- from some boat, or had floated to land on his chest, 
nobody could te^ll, for he did not seem disposed to answer 
questions, and there was something in his looks and manners 
that put a stop to all questioning. Suffice it to say, he took 
possession of a corner room of the inn, to which his chest was 
removed with great difficulty. Here he had remained ever 



280 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

since, Tceeping about the inn and its vicinity. Sometimes, it 
is true, he disappeared for one, two, or three days at a time, 
going and returning without giving any notice or account of 
his movements. He always appeared to have plenty of money, 
though often of very strange, outlandish coinage ; and he regu- 
larly paid his bill every evening before turning in. 

He had fitted up his room to his own fancy, having slung a 
hammock from the ceiling instead of a bed, and decorated the 
walls with rusty pistols and cutlasses of foreign workmanship. 
A great part of his time was passed in this room, seated by the 
window, which commanded a wide view of the Sound, a short 
old-fashioned pipe in his mouth, a glass of rum toddy at his 
elbow, and a pocket telescope in his hand, with which he recon- 
noitred every boat that moved upon the water. Large square- 
rigged vessels seemed to excite but little attention ; but the 
moment he descried any thing with a shoulder-of-mutton sail, or 
that a barge, or yawl, or jolly boat hove in sight, up went the 
telescope, and he examined it with the most scrupulous atten- 
tion. 

All this might have passed without much notice, for in those 
times the province was so much the resort of adventurers of all 
characters and climes that any oddity in dress or behavior 
attracted but little attention. But in a little while this strange 
sea monster, thus strangely cast up on dry land, began to en- 
croach upon the long-established customs and customers of the 
place ; to interfere in a dictatorial manner in the affairs of the 
ninepin alley and the bar-room, until in the end he usurped an 
absolute command over the little inn. It was in vain to attempt 
to withstand his authority. He was not exactly quarrelsome, 
but boisterous and peremptory, like one accustomed to t} T ran- 
nize on a quarter deck ; and there was a dare-devil air about 
every thing he said and did, that inspired a wariness in all by- 
stander's. Even the half- pay officer, so long the hero of the 
club, was soon silenced by him ; and the quiet burghers stared 
with wonder at seeing their inflammable man of war so readily 
and quietly extinguished. 

And then the tales that he would tell were enough to make a 
peaceable man's hair stand on end. There was not a sea fight, 
or marauding or freebooting adventure that had happened within 
the last twenty years but he seemed perfectly versed in it. He 
delighted to talk of the exploits of the buccaneers in the West 
Indies and on the Spanish Main. How his eyes would glisten 
as he described the waylaying of treasure ships, the desperate 
yard arm and yard arm broadside and broadside 



WOLFERT WEBBER; OR, GOLDEN DREAMS. 231 

~-the boarding and capturing of large Spanish galleons ! with 
what chuckling relish would he describe the descent upon some 
rich Spanish colony ; the rifling of a church ; the sacking of 
a convent ! You would have thought you heard some gorman- 
dizer dilating upon the roasting a savory goose at Michael- 
mas as he described the roasting of some Spanish Don to make 
him discover his treasure a detail given with a minuteness 
that made every rich old burgher present turn uncomfortably 
in his chair. All this would be told with infinite glee, as if he 
considered it an excellent joke ; and then he would give such a 
tyrannical leer in the face of his next neighbor, that the poor 
man would be fain to laugh out of sheer faint-heartedness. If 
any one, however, pretended to contradict him in any of his 
stories be was on fire in an instant. His very cocked hat as- 
sumed a momentary fierceness, and seemed to resent the con- 
tradiction. " How the devil should you know as well as I ! I 
tell you it was as I say f M and he would at the same time let 
edip a broadside of thundering oaths and tremendous sea phrases, 
such as had never been heard before within those peaceful walls. 

Indeed, the worthy burghers began to surmise that he knew 
more of these stories than mere hearsay. Day after day their 
conjectures concerning him grew more and more wild and fear- 
ful. The strangeness of his manners, the mystery that sur- 
rounded him, all made him something incomprehensible in their 
eyes. He was a kind of monster of the deep to them he was 
a merman he was behemoth he was leviathan in short, 
they knew not what he was. 

The domineering spirit of this boisterous sea urchin at length 
grew quite intolerable. He was no respecter of persons ; he 
contradicted the richest burghers without hesitation ; he took 
possession of the sacred elbow chair, which time out of mind had 
been the seat of sovereignty of the illustrious Ramm Rapelye. 
Nay he even went so far in one of his rough jocular moods, as 
to slap the mighty burgher on the back, drink his toddy and 
wink in his face, a thing scarcely to be believed. From this time 
Ramm Rapelye appeared no more at the inn ; his example was 
followed by several of the most eminent customers, who were 
too rich to tolerate being bullied out of their opinions, or 
being obliged to laugh at another man's jokes. The landlord 
waa almost in despair, but he knew not how to get rid of this 
sea monster and his sea-chest, which seemed to have grown like 
fixtures, or excrescences on his establishment. 

huch was the account whispered cautiously in Wolfert's ear, 
by the narrator, Peechy Frauw, as he held him by the button 



TALES OF A TRA VELIBR. 

in a corner of the hall, casting a wary glance now and then 
towards the door of the bar-room, lest he should be overheard 
by the terrible hero of his tale. 

Wolfert took his seat in a remote part of the room in silence ; 
impressed with profound awe of this unknown, so versed in 
freebooting history. It was to him a wonderful instance of the 
revolutions of mighty empires, to find the venerable Ramm 
Rapelye thus ousted from the throne ; a rugged tarpaulin dic- 
tating from his elbow chair, hectoring the patriarchs, and filling 
this tranquil little realm with brawl and bravado. 

The stranger was on this evening in a more than usually com- 
municative mood, and was narrating a number of astounding 
stories of plunderings and burnings upon the high seas. He 
dwelt upon them with peculiar relish, heightening the frightful 
particulars in proportion to their effect on his peaceful auditors. 
He gave a long swaggering detail of the capture of a Spanish 
merchantman. She was laying l>eealmed during a long sum- 
mer's day, just off from an island which was one of the lurking 
places of the pirates. They had reconnoitred her with their 
spy-glasses from the shore, and ascertained her character and 
force. At night a picked crew of daring fellows set off for 
her in a whale boat. They approached with muflled oars, as 
she lay rocking idly with the undulations of the sea aud her sails 
flapping against the masts. They were close under her stern 
before the guard on deck was aware of their approach. The 
alarm was given ; the pirates threw hand grenades on deck and 
sprang up the main chains sword in hand. 

The crew flew to arms, but in great confusion some were 
shot down, others took refuge in the tops ; others were driven 
overboard and drowned, while others fought hand to hand from 
the main deck to the quarter deck, disputing gallantly every 
inch of ground. There were three Spanish gentlemen on board 
with their ladies, who made the most desperate resistance ; they 
defended the companion-way, cut down several of their assail- 
ants, and fought like very devils, for they were maddened by 
the shrieks of the ladies from the cabin. One of the Dons was 
old and soon despatched. The other two kept their ground 
vigorously, even though the captain of the pirates was among 
their assailants. Just then there was a shout of victory from 
the main deck. u The ship is ours ! " cried the pirates. 

One of the Dons immediately dropped his sword and sur- 
rendered ; the other, who was a hot-headed youngster, and just 
married, gave the captain a slash in the face that laid all open. 
The captain just made out to articulate the words " no quarter.'* 



WOLFERT WEBBER; OS, GOLDEN DREAMS. 238 

44 And what did they do with their prisoners?" said Peechy 
Prauw, eagerly. 

44 Threw them all overboard ! " said the merman. 

A dead pause followed this reply. Peechy Prauw shrunk 
quietly back like a man who had unwarily stolen upon the lair 
of a sleeping lion. The honest burghers cast fearful glances at 
the deep scars lashed across the visage of the stranger, and 
moved their chairs a little farther off. The seaman, however, 
smoked on without moving a muscle, as though he either did 
not perceive or did not regard the unfavorable effect he had 
produced upon his hearers. 

The half-pay officer was the first to break the silence ; for he 
was continually tempted to make ineffectual head against this 
tyrant of the seas, and to regain his lost consequence in the 
eyes of his ancient companions. He now tried to match the 
gunpowder tales of 'the stranger by others equally tremendous. 
Kidd, as usual, was his hero, concerning whom he had picked up 
many of the flouting traditions of the province. The seaman had 
always evinced a settled pique against the red-faced warrior. 
On this occasion he listened with peculiar impatience. He sat 
with one arm a-kiinbo, the other elbow on a table, the hand 
holding on to the small pipe he was pettishly puffing ; his legs 
crossed, drumming with one foot on the ground and casting every 
now and then the side glance of a basilisk at the prosing cap- 
tain. At length the latter spoke of Kidd's having ascended the 
Hudson with some of his crew, to land his plunder in secrecy. 

44 Kidd up the Hudson ! " burst forth the seaman, with a tre- 
mendous oath ; 4 * Kidd never was up the Hudson ! " 

44 1 tell you he was," said the other. 44 Ay, and they say he 
buried a quantity of treasure on the little flat that runs out into 
the river, called the Devil's Dans Kammer." 

44 The Devil's Dans Kammer in your teeth! " cried the sea- 
man. 4fc I tell you Kidd never was up the Hudson what the 
plague do you know of Kidd and his haunts? " 

"What do I know?" echoed the half-pay officer; u why, I 
was in London at the time of his trial, ay, and I had the 
pleasure of seeing him hanged at Execution Dock." 

44 Then, sir, let me tell you that you saw as pretty a fellow 
hanged as ever trod shoe leather. Ay ! ' ' putting his face 
nearer to that of the officer, 4k and there was many a coward 
looked on, that might much better have swung in his stead." 

The half-pay officer was silenced ; but the indignation thus 
pent up in his bosom glowed with intense vehemence in his 
single eye, which kindled like a coal. 



284 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

Pecchy Prauw, who never could remain silent, now took up 
the word, and in a pacifying tone observed that the gentleman 
certainly was in the right. Kidd never did bury money up 
the Hudson, nor indeed in any of those parts, though many 
affirm the fact. It was B radish and others of the buccaneers 
who had buried money, some said in Turtle Bay, others on 
Long Island, others in the neighborhood of Hell Gate. In- 
deed, added he, I recollect an adventure of Mud Sam, the 
negro fisherman, many years ago, which some think had some- 
thing to do with the buccaneers, As we are all friends here, 
and as it will go no farther, I'll tell it to you. 

fct Upon a dark night many years ago, as Sam was returning 
from fishing in Hell Gate " 

Here the story was nipped in the bud by a sudden move- 
ment from the unknown, who, laying his iron fist on the table, 
knuckles downward, with a quiet force that indented the very 
boards, and looking grimly over his shoulder, with the grin of 
an angry bear. 4k Hark'ee, neighbor," said he, with significant 
nodding of the head, u you'd better let the buccaneers and their 
money alone they're not for old men and old women to med- 
dle with. They fought hard for their money, they gave body 
and soul for it, and wherever it lies buried, depend upon it he 
must have a tug with the devil who gets it." 

This sudden explosion was succeeded by a blank silence 
throughout the room. Peechy Prauw shrunk within himself, 
and even the red-faced officer turned pale. Wolfert, who, from 
a dark corner of the room, had listened with intense eagerness 
to all this talk about buried treasure, looked with mingled awe 
and reverence on this bold buccaneer, for such he really sus- 
pected him to be. There was a chinking of gold and a spar- 
kling of jewels in all his stories about the Spanish Main that 
gave a value to every period, and Wolfert would have given 
any thing for the rummaging of the ponderous sea-chest, which 
his imagination crammed full of golden chalices and crucifixes 
and jolly round bags of doubloons. 

The dead stillness that had fallen upon the company was at 
length interrupted by the stranger, who pulled out a prodigious 
watch of curious and ancient workmanship, and which in Wol- 
fert' s eyes had a decidedly Spanish look. On touching a spring 
it struck ten o'clock ; upon which the sailor called for his reck- 
oning, and having paid it out of a handful of outlandish coin, 
he drank off the remainder of his beverage, and without taking 
leave of any one, rolled out of the room, muttering to himself 
as he stamped up-stairs to his chamber. 



ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 235 

It was some time before the company could recover from the 
silence into which they had been thrown. The very footsteps of 
the stranger, which were heard now and then as he traversed 
his chamber, inspired awe. 

Still the conversation in which they had been engaged was 
too interesting not to be resumed. A heavy thunder-gust had 
gathered up unnoticed while they were lost in talk, and the 
torrents of rain that fell forbade all thoughts of setting off for 
home until the storm should subside. They drew nearer to- 
gether, therefore, and entreated the worthy Peechy Prauw to 
continue the tale which had been so discourteously interrupted. 
He readily complied, whispering, however, in a tone scarcely 
above his breath, and drowned occasionally by the rolling of 
the thunder, and he would pause every now and then, and listen 
with evident awe, as he heard the heavy footsteps of the stran- 
ger pacing overhead. 

The following is the purport of his story. 



THE ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK 

FISHERMAN. 

COMMONLY DENOMINATED MUD SAM. 

EVERYBODY knows Mud Sam, the old negro fisherman who 
has fished about the Sound for the last twenty or thirty years. 
Well, it is now many years since that Sam, who was then a 
young fellow, and worked on the farm of Killian Suydam on 
Long Island, having finished his work early, was fishing, one 
still summer evening, just about the neighborhood of Hell Gate. 
He was in a light skiff, and being well acquainted with the 
currents and eddies, he had been able to shift his station with 
the shifting of the tide, from the Hen and Chickens to the 
Hog's back, and from the Hog's back to the Pot, and from the 
Pot to the Frying-pan ; but in the eagerness of his sport Sara 
did not see that the tide was rapidly ebbing ; until the roaring 
of the whirlpools and rapids warned him of his danger, and he 
had some difficulty in shooting his skiff from among the rocks 
and breakers, and getting to the point of Blackwell's Island. 
Here he cast anchor for some time, waiting the turn of the tide 
to enable him to return homewards. As the night set in it 
grew blustering and gusty. Dark clouds came bundling up in 



286 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

the west ; and now and then a growl of thunder or a flash of 
lightning told that a summer storm was at hand. Sam pulled 
over, therefore, under the lee of Manhattan Island, and coast- 
ing along came to a snug nook, just under a steep beetling 
rock, where he fastened his skiff to the root of a tree that shot 
out from a cleft and spread its broad branches like a canopy 
over the water. The gust came scouring along ; the wind threw 
up the river in white surges ; the rain rattled among the leaves, 
the thunder bellowed worse than that which is now bellowing, 
the lightning seemed to lick up the surges of the stream ; but 
Sam, snugly sheltered under rock and tree, lay crouched in his 
skiff, rocking upon the billows, until he fell asleep. When he 
awoke all was quiet. The gust had passed away, and only 
now and then a faint gleam of lightning in the east showed 
which way it had gone. The night was dark and moonless ; 
and from the state of the tide Sam concluded it was near mid- 
night. He was on the point of making loose his skiff to return 
homewards, when he saw a light gleaming along the water from 
a distance, which seemed rapidly approaching. As it drew near 
he perceived that it came from a lantern in the bow of a boat 
which was gliding along under shadow of the laud. Jt pulled 
up in a small cove, close to where he was. A man jumped on 
shore, and searching about with the lantern exclaimed, k This 
is the place here's the iron ring." The boat was then made 
fast, and the man returning on board, assisted his comrades in 
conveying something heavy on shore. As the light gleamed 
among them, Sam saw that they were five stout, desperate- 
looking fellows, in red woollen caps, with a leader in a three- 
cornered hat, and that some of them were armed with dirks, 
or long knives, and pistols. They talked low to one another, 
and occasionally in some outlandish tongue which he could not 
understand. 

On landing they made their way among the bushes, taking 
turns to relieve each other in lugging their burthen up the rocky 
bank. Sam's curiosity was now fully aroused, so leaving his 
skiff he clambered silently up the ridge that overlooked their 
path. They had stopped to rest for a moment, and the leader 
was looking about among the bushes with his lantern. " Have 
you brought the spades? " said one. " They are here," replied 
another, who had them on his shoulder. " We must dig deep, 
where there will be no risk of discovery," said a third. 

A cold chill ran through Sam's veins. He fancied he saw 
before him a gang of murderers, al>out to bury their victim. 
His knees smote together. In his agitation he shook the braucli 



ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 237 

of a tree with which he was supporting himself as he looked 
over the edge of the cliff. 

* 4 What's that?" cried one of the gang. " Some one stirs 
among the bushes ! " 

The lantern was held up in the direction of the noise. One 
of the red-caps cocked a pistol, and pointed it towards the very 
place where Sam was standing. He stood motionless breath- 
less ; expecting the next moment to be his last. Fortunately, 
his dingy complexion was in his favor, and made no glare 
among the leaves. 

"'Tisno one," said the man with the lantern. "What a 
plague ! you would not fire off your pistol and alarm the coun- 
try/' 

The pistol was uncocked ; the burthen was resumed, and the 
party slowly toiled up the bank. Sam watched them as they 
went ; the light sending back fitful gleams through the dripping 
bushes, and it was not till they were fairly out of sight that 
he ventured to draw breath freely. He now thought of getting 
back to his boat, and making his escape out of the reach of 
such dangerous neighbors ; but curiosity was all-powerful with 
poor Sam. He hesitated and lingered and listened. By and 
by he heard the strokes of spades. 

4k They are digging the grave ! " said he to himself ; the cold 
sweat started upo his forehead. Every stroke of a spade, as 
it sounded through the silent groves, went to his heart ; it was 
evident there was as little noise made as possible ; everything 
had an air of mystery and secrecy. Sam had a great relish for 
the horrible a tale of murder was a treat for him ; and he 
was a constant attendant at executions. He could not, there- 
fore, resist an impulse, in spite of every danger, to steal nearer, 
and overlook the villains at their work. He crawled along 
cautiously, therefore, inch by inch ; stepping with the utmost 
care among the dry leaves, lest their rustling should betray 
him. He came at length to where a steep rock intervened 
between him and the gang ; he saw the light of their lantern 
shining up against the branches of the trees on the other side. 
Sara slowly and silently clambered up the surface of the rock, 
and raising his head above its naked edge, beheld the villains 
immediately below him, and so near that though he dreaded 
discovery, he dared not withdraw lest the least movement should 
be heard. In this way he remained, with his round black face 
peering over the edge of the rock, like the sun just emerging 
above the edge of the horizon, or the round-cheeked moon on 
the dial of a clock. 



288 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

The red-caps had nearly finished their work; the grave was 
filled up, and they were carefully replacing the turf. This 
done, they scattered dry leaves over the place. "And now," 
said the leader, "I defy the devil himself to find it out." 

44 The murderers ! " exclaimed Sam involuntarily. 

The whole gang started, and looking up, beheld the round 
black head of Sam just above them. His white eyes strained 
half ojUt of their orbits ; his white teeth chattering, and his 
whole visage shining with cold perspiration. 

44 We're discovered ! " cried one. 

44 Down with him ! " cried another. 

Sam heard the cocking of a pistol, but did not pause for the 
report. He scrambled over rock and stone, through bush and 
briar ; rolled down banks like a hedgehog ; scrambled up others 
like a catamount. In every direction he heard some one or 
other of the gang hemming him in. At length he reached the 
rocky ridge along the river ; one of the red-caps was hard 
behind him. A steep rock like a wall rose directly in his way : 
it seemed to cut off all retreat, when he espied the strong cord- 
like branch of a grape-vine reaching half way down it. He 
sprang at it with the force of a desperate man, seized it with 
both hands, and being young and agile, succeeded in swinging 
himself to the summit of the cliff. Here he stood in full relief 
against the sky, when the red-cap cocked his pistol and tired. 
The ball whistled by Sam's head. With the lucky thought of 
a man in an emergency, he uttered a yell, fell to the ground, 
and detached at the same time a fragment of the rock, which 
tumbled with a loud splash into the river. 

44 I've done his business," said the red-cap, to one or two of 
his comrades as they arrived panting. "He'll tell no tales, 
except to the fishes in the river." 

His pursuers now turned off to meet their companions. Sam 
sliding silently down the surface of the rock, let himself quietly 
into his skiff, cast loose the fastening, and abandoned himself 
to the rapid current, which in that place runs like a mill-stream, 
and soon swept him off from the neighborhood. It was not, 
however, until he had drifted a great distance that he ventured 
to ply his oars ; when he made his skiff dart like an arrow 
through the strait of Hell Gate, never heeding the danger of 
Pot, Frying-pan, or Hog's-back itself ; nor did he feel himself 
thoroughly secure until safely nestled in bed in the cockloft of 
the ancient farm-house of the Su3'dams. 

Here the worthy Peechy paused to take breath and to take a 
sip of the gossip tankard that stood at his elbow. His auditors 



ADVENTURE OF 8AM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 239 

remained with open mouths and outstretched necks, gaping like 
a nest of swallows for an additional mouthful. 

u And is that all? " exclaimed the half-pay officer. 

44 That's all that belongs to the story," said Peechy Prauw. 

"And did Sam never find out what was buried by the red- 
caps?" said Wolfert, eagerly; whose mind was haunted by 
nothing but ingots and doubloons. 

44 Not that I know of; he had no time to spare from his 
work ; and to tell the truth, he did not like to run the risk of 
another race among the rocks. Besides, how should he recollect 
the spot where the grave had been digged ? every thing would 
look different by daylight. And then, where was the use of 
looking for a dead body, when there was no chance of hanging 
the murderers ? ' ' 

"Ay, but are you sure it was a dead body they buried?" 
said Wolfert. 

"To be sure," cried Peechy Prauw, exultingly. "Does it 
not haunt in the neighborhood to this very day? " 

"Haunts!" exclaimed several of the party, opening their 
eyes still wider and edging their chairs still closer. 

44 Ay, haunts," repeated Peechy; "has none of you heard 
of father red-cap that haunts the old burnt farm-house in the 
woods, on the border of the Sound, near Hell Gate? " 

" Oh, to be sure, I've heard tell of something of the kind, 
but then I took it for some old wives' fable." 

4 "Old wives' fable or not," said Peechy Prauw, "that farm- 
house stands hard by the very spot. It's been unoccupied time 
out of mind, and stands in a wild, lonely part of the coast; 
but those who fish in the neighborhood have often heard strange 
noises there ; and lights have been seen about the wood at 
night ; and an old fellow in a red cap has been seen at the win- 
dows more than once, which people take to be the ghost of the 
body that was buried there. Once upon a time three soldiers 
took shelter in the building for the night, aud rummaged it from 
top to bottom, when they found old father red-cap astride of a 
cider- barrel in the cellar, with a jug in one hand and a goblet in 
the other. He offered them a drink out of his goblet, but just 
as one of the soldiers was putting it to his mouth Whew ! a 
flash of fire blazed through the cellar, blinded every mother's 
son of them for several minutes, and when they recovered their 
eye-sight, jug, goblet, and red-cap had vanished, and nothing 
but the empty cider-barrel remained." 

Here the half-pay officer, who was growing very muzzy and 
sleepy, and nodding over his liquor, with half-extinguished eye, 
suddenly gleamed up like an expiring rushlight. 



240 TALKS OF A 

" That's all humbug! " said he, as Peechy finished his last 
story. 

" Well, I don't vouch for the truth of it myself," said Peechy 
Prauw, " though all the world knows that there's something 
strange about the house and grounds ; but as to the story of 
Mud Sam, I believe it just as well as if it had happened to 
myself." 

The deep interest taken in this conversation by the company, 
had made them unconscious of the uproar that prevailed abroad 
among the elements, when suddenly they were all electrified 
by a tremendous clap of thunder. A lumbering crash followed 
instantaneously that made the building shake to its foundation. 
All started from their seats, imagining it the shock of an earth- 
quake, or that old father red-cap was coming among them in 
all his terrors. They listened for a moment, but only heard the 
rain pelting against the windows, and the wind howling among 
the trees. The explosion was soon explained by the apparition 
of an old negro's bald head thrust in at the door, his white 
goggle eyes contrasting with his jetty poll, which was wet with 
rain and shone like a bottle. In a jargon but half intelligible 
he announced that the kitchen chimney had been struck with 
lightning. 

A sullen pause of the storm, which now rose and sunk in 
gusts, produced a momentary stillness. In this interval the 
report of a musket was heard, and a long shout, almost like a 
yell, resounded from the shore. Every one crowded to the 
window ; another musket shot was heard, and another long 
shout, that mingled wildly with a rising blast of wind. It seemed 
as if the cry came up from the bosom of the waters ; for though 
incessant flashes of lightning spread a light about the shore, no 
one was to be seen. 

Suddenly the window of the room overhead was opened, and 
a loud halloo uttered by the mysterious stranger. Several hail- 
ings passed from one party to the other, but in a language which 
none of the company in the bar-room could understand ; and 
presently they heard the window closed, and a great noise over- 
head as if all the furniture were pulled and hauled about the 
room. The negro servant was summoned, and shortly after was 
seen assisting the veteran to lug the ponderous sea-chest down 
stairs. 

The landlord was in amazement. " What, you are not going 
on the water in such a storm ? ' ' 

"Storm!" said the other, scornfully, "do you call such a 
sputter of weather a storm? " 



ADVENTURE OF BAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 241 

" You'll get drenched to the skin You'll catch your death ! " 
said Peechy Prauw, affectionately. 

44 Thunder and lightning! " exclaimed theP merman, " don't 
preach about weather to a man that has cruised in whirlwinds 
and tornadoes." 

The obsequious Peechy was again struck dumb. The voice 
from the water was again heard in a tone of impatience ; the 
b} T standers stared with redoubled awe at this man of storms, 
which seemed to have come up out of the deep and to be called 
back to it again. As, with the assistance of the negro, lie slowly 
bore his ponderous sea-chest towards the shore, they eyed it 
with a superstitious feeling ; half doubting whether he were not 
really about to embark upon it, and launch forth upon the wild 
waves. They followed him at a distance with a lantern. 

u Douse the light ! " roared the hoarse voice from the water. 
" No one wants light here ! " 

" Thunder and lightning ! " exclaimed the veteran ; " back to 
the house with you ! " 

Wolfert and his companions shrunk back in dismay. Still 
their curiosity would not allow them entirely to withdraw. A 
long sheet of lightning now flickered across the waves, and 
discovered a boat, filled with men, just under a rocky point, 
rising and sinking with the heavy surges, and swashing the 
water at every heave. It was with difficulty held to the rocks 
by a boat hook, for the current rushed furiously round the 
point. The veteran hoisted one end of the lumbering sea-chest 
on the gunwale of the boat ; he seized the handle t the other 
end to lift it in, when the motion propelled the boat from the 
shore ; the chest slipped off from the gunwale, sunk into the 
waves, and pulled the veteran headlong after it. A loud shriek 
was uttered by all on shore, and a volley of execrations by 
those on board ; but boat and man were hurried away by the 
rushing swiftness of the tide. A pitchy darkness succeeded ; 
Wolfert Webber indeed fancied that he distinguished a cry for 
help, and that he beheld the drowning man beckoning for assist- 
ance ; but when the lightning again gleamed along the water all 
was drear and void. Neither man nor boat was to be seen ; 
nothing but the dashing and weltering of the waves as they hur- 
ried past. 

The company returned to the tavern, for they could not leave 
it before the storm should subside. They resumed their seats 
and gazed on each other with dismay. The whole transaction 
had not occupied five minutes, and not a dozen words had been 
spoken. When they looked at the oaken chair they could 



42 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

scarcely realize the fact that the strange being who had so lately 
tenanted it, full of life and Herculean vigor, should already be 
a corpse. There*was the very glass he had just drunk from ; 
there lay the ashes from the pipe which he had smoked as it 
were with his last breath. As the worthy burghers pondered 
on these things, they felt a terrible conviction of the uncertainty 
of human existence, and each felt as if the ground on which he 
stood was rendered less stable by this awful example. 

As, however, the most of the company were possessed of that 
valuable philosophy which enables a man to bear up with for- 
titude against the misfortunes of his neighbors, they soon man- 
aged to console themselves for the tragic end of the veteran. 
The landlord was happy that the poor dead man had paid his 
reckoning before he went. 

" He came in a storm, and he went in a storm ; he came in 
the night, and he went in the night; he came nobody knows 
from whence, and he has gone nobody knows where. For aught 
I know he has gone to sea once more on his chest and may laud 
to bother some people on the other side of the world ! Though 
it's a thousand pities," added the landlord, " if he has gone to 
Davy Jones that he had not left his sea-chest behind him." 

"The sea-chest! St. Nicholas preserve us!" said Peechy 
Prauw. " I'd not have had that sea-chest in the house for any 
money ; I'll warrant he'd come racketing after it at nights, and 
making a haunted house of the inn. And as to his going to 
sea on his chest, 1 recollect what happened to Skipper Onder- 
donk's ship on his voyage from Amsterdam. 

"The boatswain died during a storm, so they wrapped him 
up in a sheet, and put him in his own sea-chest, and threw him 
overboard ; but they neglected in their hurry-skurry to say 
prayers over him and the storm raged and roared louder than 
ever, and they saw the dead man seated in his chest, with his 
shroud for a sail, coming hard after the ship ; and the sea break- 
ing before him in great sprays like fire, and there they kept 
scudding day after day and night after night, expecting every 
moment to go to wreck ; and every night they saw the dead 
boatswain in his sea-chest trying to get up with them, and they 
-heard his whistle above the blasts of wind, and he seemed to 
send great seas mountain high after them, that would have 
swamped the ship if they had not put up the dead lights. And 
so it went on till they lost sight of him in the fogs of New- 
foundland, and supposed he had veered ship and stood for Dead 
Man's Isle. So much for burying a man at sea without saying 
prayers over him." . 



ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 248 

The thunder-gust which had hitherto detained the company 
was now at an end. The cuckoo clock in the hall struck mid- 
night ; every one pressed to depart, for seldom was such a late 
hour trespassed on by these quiet burghers. As they sallied 
forth they found the heavens once more serene. The storm 
which had lately obscured them had rolled away, and lay piled 
up in fleecy masses on the horizon, lighted up by the bright 
crescent of the moon, which looked like a silver lamp hung up 
in a palace of clouds. 

The dismal occurrence of the night, and the dismal narrations 
they had made, had left a superstitious feeling in every mind. 
They cast a fearful glance at the spot where the buccaneer had 
disappeared, almost expecting to see him sailing on his chest in 
the cool moonshine. The trembling rays glittered along the 
waters, but all was placid ; and the current dimpled over the 
spot where he had gone clown. The party huddled together in 
a little crowd as they repaired homewards ; particularly when 
they passed a lonely field where a man had been murdered ; and 
he who had farthest to go and had to complete his journey 
alone, though a veteran sexton, and accustomed, one would 
think, to ghosts and goblins, yet went a long way round, rather 
than pass by his own church-yard. 

Wolfert Webber had now carried home a fresh stock of stories 
and notions to ruminate upon. His mind was all of a whirl 
with these freebootiug tales ; and then these accounts of pots 
of money and Spanish treasures, buried here and there and 
everywhere about the rocks and bays of this wild shore, made 
him almost dizzy. 

44 Blessed St. Nicholas ! " ejaculated he, half aloud, " is it 
not possible to come upon one of these golden hoards, and so 
make one's self rich in a twinkling. How hard that I must go 
on, delving and delving, day in and day out, merely to make a 
morsel of bread, when one lucky stroke of a spade might en- 
able me to ride in my carriage for the rest of my life ! " 

As he turned over in his thoughts all tluvt he had been told 
of the singular adventure of the black fisherman, his imagina- 
tion gave a totally different complexion to the tale. He saw in 
the gang of red-caps nothing but a crew of pirates burying their 
spoils, and his cupidity was once more awakened by the possi- 
bility of at length getting on the traces of some of this lurking 
wealth. Indeed, his infected fancy tinged every thing with 
gold. He felt like the greedy inhabitant of Bagdad, when his 
eye had been greased with the magic ointment of the dervise, 
that gave him to see all the treasures of the earth. Caskets of 



244 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

buried jewels, chests of ingots, bags of outlandish coins, seemed 
to court him from their concealments, and supplicate him to 
relieve them from their untimely graves. 

On making private inquiries about the grounds said to be 
haunted by father red-cap, he was more and more confirmed 
in his surmise. He learned that the place had several times 
been visited by experienced money-diggers, who had heard Mud 
Sam's story, though none of them had met with success. On 
the contrary, they had aways been dogged with ill luck of some 
kind or other, in consequence, as Wolfert concluded, of their 
not going to work at the proper time, and with the proper 
ceremonials. The last attempt had been made by Cobus Quack- 
enbos, who dug for a whole night and met with incredible diffi- 
culty, for as fast as he threw one shovel full of earth out of 
the hole, two were thrown in by invisible hands. He succeeded 
so far, however, as to uncover an iron chest, when there was 
a terrible roaring, and ramping, and raging of uncouth figures 
about the hole, and at length a shower of blows, dealt by invis- 
ible cudgels, that fairly belabored him off the forbidden ground. 
This Cobus Quackenbos had declared on his death-bed, so that 
there could not be any doubt of it. He was a man that had 
devoted many years of his life to money-digging, and it was 
thought would have ultimately succeeded, had he not died sud- 
denly of a brain fever in the alms-house. 

Wolfert Webber was now in a worry of trepidation and im- 
patience ; fearful lest some rival adventurer should get a scent 
of the buried gold. He determined privately to seek out the 
negro fisherman and get him to serve as guide to the place where 
he had witnessed the mysterious scene of interment. Sam was 
easily found ; for he was one of those old habitual beings that 
live about a neighborhood until they wear themselves a place in 
the public mind, and become, in a manner, public characters. 
There was not an unlucky urchin about the town that did not 
know Mud Sam the fisherman, and think that he had a right to 
play his tricks upon the old negro. Sam was an amphibious 
kind of animal, something more of a fish than a rnan ; he had 
led the life of an otter for more than half a century, about the 
shores of the bay, and the fishing grounds of the Sound. He 
passed the greater part of his time on and in the water, par- 
ticularly about Hell Gate ; and might have been taken, in bad 
weather, for one of the hobgoblins that used to haunt that strait. 
There would he be seen, at all times, and in all weathers ; some- 
times in bis skiff, anchored among the eddies, or prowling, like 
a shark about some wreck, where the fish are supposed to be 



ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 245 

most abundant. Sometimes seated on a rock from hour to hour, 
looming through mist and drizzle, like a solitary heron watching 
for its prey. He was well acquainted with every hole and corner 
of the Sound ; from the Wallabout to Hell Gate, and from Hell 
Gate even unto the Devil's Stepping Stones ; and it was even 
affirmed that he knew all the fish in the river by their Christian 
names. 

Wolfert found him at his cabin, which was not much larger 
than a tolerable dog-house. It was rudely constructed of frag- 
ments of wrecks and drift-wood, and built on the rocky shore, 
at the foot of the old fort, just about what at present forms the 
point of the Battery. A "most ancient and fish-like smell" 
pervaded the place. Oars, paddles, and fishing-rods were lean- 
ing against the wall of the fort ; a net was spread on the sands 
to dry ; a skiff was drawn np on the beach, and at the door 
of his cabin lay Mud Sam himself, indulging in a true negro's 
luxury sleeping in the sunshine. 

Many years had passed away since the time of Sam's youth- 
ful adventure, and the snows of many a winter had grizzled the 
knotty wool upon his head. He perfectly recollected the cir- 
cumstances, however, for he had often been called upon to relate 
them, though in his version of the story he differed in many 
points from Peechy Prauw ; as is not un frequently the case with 
authentic historians. As to the subsequent researches of money- 
diggers, Sam knew nothing about them ; they were matters quite 
out of his line ; neither did the cautious Wolfert care to disturb 
his thoughts on that point. His only wish was to secure the old 
fisherman as a pilot to the spot, and this was readily effected. 
The long time that had intervened since his nocturnal adventure 
had effaced all Sam's awe of the place, and the promise of a 
trifling reward roused him at once from his sleep and his sun- 
shine. 

The tide was adverse to making the expedition by water, and 
Wolfert was too impatient to get to the land of promise, to wait 
for its turning ; they set off, therefore, by land. A walk of four 
or five miles brought them to the edge of a wood, whch at that 
time covered the greater part of the eastern side of the island. 
It was just beyond the pleasant region of Bloomen-dael. Here 
they struck into a long lane, straggling among trees and bushes, 
very much overgrown with weeds and mullein stalks as if but 
seldom used, and so completely overshadowed as to enjoy but a 
kind of twilight. Wild vines entangled the trees and flaunted 
in their faces ; brambles and briars caught their clothes as they 
passed ; the garter-snake glided across their path ; the spotted 



248 TALKS OF A TRAVELLER. 

toad hopped and waddled before them, and the restless cat-bird 
mewed at them from every thicket. Had Wolfert Webber been 
deeply read in romantic legend he might have fancied himself 
entering upon forbidden, enchanted ground ; or that these were 
some of the guardians set to keep a watch upon buried treasure. 
As it was, the loneliness of the place, and the wild stories con- 
nected with it, had their effect upon his mind. 

On reaching the lower end of the lane they found themselves 
near the shore of the Sound, in a kind of amphitheatre, sur- 
rounded by forest trees. The area had once been a grass-plot, 
but was now shagged with briars and rank weeds. At one end, 
and just on the river bank, was a ruined building, little better 
than a heap of rubbish, with a stack of chimneys rising like a 
solitary tower out of the centre. The current of the Sound 
rushed along just below it, with wildly-grown trees drooping 
their branches into its waves. 

Wolfert had not a doubt that this was the haunted house of 
father red-cap, and called to mind the story of Peechy Prauw. 
The; evening was approaching, and the light falling dubiously 
among these places, gave a melancholy tone to the scene, well 
calculated to foster any lurking feeling of awe or superstition. 
The night-hawk, wheeling about in the highest regions of the 
air, emitted his peevish, boding cry. The woodpecker gave a 
lonely tap now and then on some hollow tree, and the fire-bird, 1 
as he streamed by them with his deep-red plumage, seemed like 
some genius flitting about this region of mystery. 

They now came to an enclosure that had once been a garden. 
It extended along the foot of a rocky ridge, but was little bet- 
ter than a wilderness of weeds, with here and there a matted 
rose-bush, or a peach or plum tree grown wild and ragged, and 
covered with moss. At the lower end of the garden they passed 
a kind of vault in the side of the bank, facing the water. It 
had the look of a root-house. The door, though decayed, was 
still strong, and appeared to have been recently patched up. 
Wolfert pushed it open. It gave a harsh grating upon its hinges, 
and striking against something like a box, a rattling sound en- 
sued, and a skull rolled on the floor. Wolfert drew back shud- 
dering, but was reassured on being informed by Sam that this 
was a family vault belonging to one of the old Dutch families 
that owned this estate ; an assertion which was corroborated 
by the sight of coffins of various sizes piled within. Sam had 
been familiar with all these scenes when a boy, and now knew 

1 Orchard Oreoto. 



ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 247 

that he could not be far from the place of which they were in 
quest. 

They now made their way to the water's edge, scrambling 
along ledges of rocks, and having often to hold by shrubs and 
grape-vines to avoid slipping into the deep and hurried stream. 
At length they came to a small cove, or rather indent of the 
shore. It was protected by steep rocks and overshadowed by 
a thick copse of oaks and chestnuts, so as to be sheltered and 
almost concealed. The beach sloped gradually within the 
cove, but the current swept deep and black and rapid along its 
jutting points. Sam paused ; raised his remnant of a hat, and 
scratched his grizzled poll for a moment, as he regarded this 
nook : then suddenly clapping his hands, he stepped exultingly 
forward, and pointed to a large iron ring, stapled firmly in 
the rock, just where a broad shelf of stone furnished a com- 
modious landing-place. It was the very spot where the red-caps 
had landed. Years had changed the more perishable features 
of the scene ; but rock and iron yield slowly to the influence of 
time. On looking more narrowly, Wolfert remarked three 
crosses cut in the rock just above the ring, which had no doubt 
some mysterious signification. Old Sam now readily recognized 
the overhanging rock under which his skiff had been sheltered 
during the thunder-gust. To follow up the course which the 
midnight gang had taken, however, was a harder task. His 
mind had been so much taken up on that eventful occasion by 
the persons of the drama, as to pay but little attention to the 
scenes ; and places looked different by night and day. After wan- 
dering about for some time, however, they came to an opening 
among the trees which Sam thought resembled the place. There 
was a ledge of rock of moderate height like a wall on one side, 
which Sam thought might be the very ridge from which he over- 
looked the diggers. Wolfert examined it narrowly, and at 
length described three crosses similar to those above the iron 
ring, cut deeply into the face of the rock, but nearly obliterated 
by the moss that had grown on them. His heart leaped with 
joy, for he doubted not but they were the private marks of the 
buccaneers, to denote the places where their treasure lay buried. 
All now that remained was to ascertain the precise spot ; for 
otherwise he might dig at random without coming upon the spoil, 
and he had already had enough of such profitless labor. Here, 
however, Sam was perfectly at a loss, and, indeed, perplexed 
him by a variety of opinions ; for his recollections were ail con- 
fused. Sometimes he declared it must have been at the foot of 
a mulberry tree hard by ; then it was just beside a great white 



'248 TALES OF A TRA VELLEK. 

stone; then it must have been under a small green knoll, a 
short distance from the ledge of rock : until at length Wolfert 
became as bewildered as himself. 

The shadows of evening were now spreading themselves over 
the woods, and rock and tree began to mingle together. It 
was evidently too late to attempt any thing farther at present ; 
and, indeed, Wolfert had come unprepared with implements to 
prosecute his researches. Satisfied, therefore, with having as- 
certained the place, he took note of all its landmarks, that he 
might recognize it again, and set out on his return homeward, 
resolved to prosecute this golden enterprise without delay. 

The leading anxiety which had hitherto absorbed every feel- 
ing being now in some measure appeased, fancy began to wan- 
der, and to conjure up a thousand shapes and chimeras as .he 
returned through this haunted region. Pirates hanging in chains 
seemed to swing on every tree, and he almost expected to see 
some Spanish Don, witli his throat cut from ear to ear, rising 
slowly out of the ground, and shaking the ghost of a money- 

Their way back lay through the desolate garden, and Wol- 
fert' s nerves had arrived at so sensitive a state that the flitting 
of a bird, the rustling of a leaf, or the falling of a nut was 
enough to startle him. As they entered the confines of the 
garden, they caught sight of a figure at a distance advancing 
slowly up one of the walks and bending under the weight of a 
burthen. They paused and regarded him attentively. lie wore 
what appeared to be a woollen cap, and still more alarming, of 
a most sanguinary red. The figure moved slowly on, ascended 
the bank, and stopped at the very door of the sepulchral vault. 
Just before entering he looked around. What was the horror of 
Wolfert when he recognized the grizzly visage of the drowned 
buccaneer. He uttered an ejaculation of horror. The figure 
slowly raised his iron fist and shook it with a terrible menace. 
Wolfert did not pause to see more, but hurried off as fast as 
his legs could carry him, nor was Sam slow in following at his 
heels, having all his ancient terrors revived. Away, then, did 
they scramble, through bush and brake, horribly frightened at 
every bramble that tagged at their skirts, nor did they pause to 
breathe, until they had blundered their way through this perilous 
wood and had fairly reached the high-road to the city. 

Several days elapsed before Wolfert could summon courage 
enough to prosecute the enterprise, so much had he been dis- 
mayed by the apparition, whether living or dead, of the grizzly 
buccaneer. In the mean time, what a conflict of mind did he 



ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 249 

suffer ! He neglected all his concerns, was moody and restless 
all day, lost bis appetite ; wandered in his thoughts and words, 
and committed a thousand blunders. His rest was broken ; and 
when he fell asleep, the nightmare, in shape of a huge money- 
bag, sat squatted upon his breast. He babbled about incalcu- 
lable sums ; fancied himself engaged in money-digging ; threw 
the bed-clothes right and left, in the idea that he was shovelling 
among the dirt, groped under the bed in quest of the treasure, 
and lugged forth, as he supposed, an inestimable pot of gold. 

Dame Webber and her daughter were in despair at what they 
conceived a returning touch of insanity. There are two family 
oracles, one or other of which Dutch housewives consult in all 
cases of great doubt and perplexity : the dominie and the doctor. 
In the present instance they repaired to the doctor. There was 
at that time a little, dark, mouldy man of medicine famous 
among the old wives of the Manhattoes for his skill not only in 
the healing art, but in all matters of strange and mysterious 
nature. His name was Dr. Knipperhausen, but he was more 
commonly known by the appellation of the High German doc- 
tor. 1 To him did the poor women repair for counsel and assist- 
ance touching the mental vagaries of Wolfert Webber. 

They found the doctor seated in his little study, clad in his 
dark camblet robe of knowledge, with his black velvet cap, after 
the manner of Boorhaave, Van Helmont, and other medical 
sages : a pair of green spectacles set in black horn upon his 
clubbed nose, and poring over a German folio that seemed to 
reflect back the darkness of his physiognomy. The doctor lis- 
tened to their statement of the symptoms of Wolfert's malady 
with profound attention ; but when they came to mention his 
raving about buried money, the little man pricked up his ears. 
Alas, poor women ! they little knew the aid they had called in. 

Dr. Knipperhausen had been half his life engaged in seeking 
the short cuts to fortune, in quest of which so many a long life- 
time is wasted. He had passed some years of his youth in the 
Harz mountains of Germany, and had derived much valuable 
instruction from the miners, touching the mode of seeking treas- 
ure buried in the earth. He had prosecuted his studies also 
under a travelling sage who united all the mysteries of medicine 
with magic and legerdemain. His mind, therefore, had become 
stored with all kinds of mystic lore : he had dabbled a little in 
astrology, alchemy, and divination ; knew how to detest stolen 
money, and to tell where springs of water lay hidden ; in a 

^ 

1 Tbt Mun* 9 no doubt, of whom mention ia made in the history of Doiph Heyliger. 



250 TALES Of A TRAVELLER. 

word, by the dark nature of his knowledge he had acquired the 
name of the High German doctor, which is pretty nearly equiv- 
alent to that of necromancer. The doctor had often heard 
rumors of treasure being buried in various parts of the island, 
and had long been anxious to get on the traces of it. No 
sooner were Wolfert's waking and sleeping vagaries confided to 
him, than he beheld in them the confirmed symptoms of a case 
of money-digging, and lost no time in probing it to the bottom. 
Wolfert had long been sorely depressed in mind by the golden 
secret, and as a family physician is a kind of father confessor, 
he was glad of the opportunity of unburthening himself. So 
far from curing, the doctor caught the malady from his patient. 
The circumstances unfolded to him awakened all his cupidity ; 
he had not a doubt of money being buried somewhere in the 
neighborhood of the mysterious crosses, and offered to join 
Wolfert in the search. He informed him that much secrecy 
and caution must be observed in enterprises of the kind ; that 
money is only to be digged for at night; with certain forms 
and ceremonies ; the burning of drugs ; the repeating of mystic 
words, and above all, that the seekers must be provided with a 
divining rod, which had the wonderful property of pointing to 
the very spot on the surface of the earth under which treasure 
lay hidden. As the doctor had given much of his mind to these 
matters, he charged himself with all the necessary preparations, 
and, as the quarter of the moon was propitious, he undertook 
to have the divining rod ready by a certain night. 1 

1 The following note was found appended to this paper in the handwriting of Mr. 
Knickerbocker. " There has been much written against the divining rod by those light 
minds who are ever ready to scoff at the mysteries of nature, but 1 fully join with I)r. 
Kntpperhausen in giving it my faith. 1 shall not insist upon its efficacy in discovering 
the concealment of stolen goods, the boundary -stones of fields, the traces of robbers 
and murderers, or even the existence of subterraneous springs and streams of water; 
albeit, 1 think these properties not easily to be discredited; but of its potency in discov- 
ering veins of precious metal, and hidden sums of money and jewels, T have not the least 
doubt. Some said that the rod turned only in the hands of persons who had been born 
in particular months in the year: hence astrologers had recourse to planetary influence 
when they would procure a talisman. Others declared that the properties of the rod 
were either an, effect of chance, or the fraud of the holder, or the work of the devil. 
Thus sayeth the reverend Father Gaspard Schott in his Treatise on Magic. ' Proyter 
base et similia argumenta audacter ego pronuncio vim conversivam virgulro befurcatas 
nequaquam naturalero ease, Bed vel casa vei fraude virgulam tractanlis vel ope diaboli,' etc. 

"Georgius Agriculaalso was of opinion that it was a mere delusion of the devil to 
tevefgle the avaricious and unwary into his clutches, and in his treatise *de re Metnllica,' 
lays particular stress on the mysterious words pronounced by those persons who era- 
ployed the divining rod during his time. But I make not a doubt that the divining rod 
n one of those secrets of natural magic, the mystery of which is to be explained by the 
sympathies existing between physical things operated upon by the planets, and rendered 
efficacious by the strong faith of the individual. Let the divining rod be property gath- 
ered at the proper time of the moon, cut into the proper form, used with the necessary 
ceremonies, and with a perfect faith in its efficacy, and I can confidently recommend ft 
to my fellow-citizens as an infallible means of discovering the various places oo the teiaud 
of the Mauhattoes where treasure hath been buried iu the olden time. 

M D. K." 



ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 251 

Wolfert's heart leaped with joy at having met with so learned 
and able a coadjutor. Every thing went on secretly, but swim- 
mingly. The doctor had many consultations with his patient, 
and the good women of the household lauded the comforting 
effect of his visits. In the mean time, the wonderful divining 

7 O 

rod, that great key to nature's secrets, was duly prepared. The 
doctor had thumbed over all his books of knowledge for the 
occasion ; and Mud Sam was engaged to take them in his skiff 
to the scene of enterprise ; to work with spade and pick-axe in 
unearthing the treasure ; and to freight his bark with the weighty 
spoils they were certain of finding. 

At length the appointed night arrived for this perilous under- 
taking. Before Wolfert left his home he counselled his wife 
and daughter to go to bed, and feel no harm if he should not 
return during the night. Like reasonable women, on being told 
not to feel alarm, they fell immediately into a panic. They saw 
at once by his manner that something unusual was in agitation ; 
all their fears about the unsettled state of his mind were roused 
with tenfold force : they hung about him entreating him not to 
expose himself to the night air, but all in vain. When Wolfert 
was once mounted on his hobby, it was no easy matter to get 
him out of the saddle. It was a clear starlight night, when 
he issued out of the portal of the Webber palace. He wore a 
large flapped hat tied under the chin with a handkerchief of his 
daughter's, to secure him from the night damp, while Dame 
Webber threw her long red cloak about his shoulders, and fas- 
tened it around his neck. 

The doctor had been no less carefully armed and accoutred 
by his housekeeper, the vigilant Frau Ilsy, and sallied forth in 
his camblet robe by way of surtout ; his black velvet cap under 
his cocked hat, a thick clasped book under his arm, a basket of 
drugs and dried herbs in one hand, and in the other the miracu- 
lous rod of divination. 

The great church clock struck ten as Wolfert and the doctor 
passed by the church-yard, and the watchman bawled in hoarse 
voice a long and doleful " All's well!" A deep sleep had 
already fallen upon this primitive little burgh : nothing disturbed 
this awful silence, excepting now and then the bark of some* 
profligate night-walking dog, or the serenade of some romantic 
cat. It is true, Wolfert fancied more than once that he heard 
the sound of a stealthy footfall at a distance behind them ; but 
it might have been merely the echo of their own stops echoing 
along the quiet streets. He thought also at one time that he 
saw a tali figure skulking after them stopping when they 



]262 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

stopped, and moving on as they proceeded ; but the dim and 
uncertain lamplight threw such vague gleams and shadows, 
that this might all have been mere fancy. 

They found the negro fisherman waiting for them, smoking 
his pipe in the stern of his skiff, which was moored just in 
front of his little cabin. A pick-axe and spade were lying in 
the bottom of the boat, with a dark lantern, and a stone jug 
of good Dutch courage, in which honest Sam no doubt, put even 
more faith than Dr. Knipperhausen in his drugs. 

Thus then did these three worthies embark in their cockle- 
shell of a skiff upon this nocturnal expedition, with a wisdom 
and valor equalled only by the three wise men of Gotham, who 
went to sea in a bowl. The tide was rising and running rapidly 
up the Sound. The current bore them along, almost without 
the aid of an oar. The profile of the town lay all in shadow. 
Here and there a light feebly glimmered from some sick-cham- 
ber, or from the cabin window of some vessel at anchor in the 
stream. Not a cloud obscured the deep starry firmament, the 
lights of which wavered on the surface of the placid river : and 
a shooting meteor, streaking its pale course in the very direction 
they were taking, was interpreted by the doctor into a most pro- 
pitious omen. 

In a little while they glided by the point of Corlears Hook 
with the rural inn which had been the scene of such night ad- 
ventures. The family had retired to rest, and the house was 
dark and still. Wolfert felt a chill pass over him as they passed 
the point where the buccaneer had disappeared. He pointed it 
out to Dr. Kuipperhausen. While regarding it, they thought 
they saw a l)oat actually lurking at the very place ; but the shore 
cast such a shadow over the border of the water that they could 
discern nothing distinctly. They had not proceeded far when 
they heard the low sounds of distant oars, as if cautiously pulled. 
Sam plied his oars with redoubled vigor, and knowing all the 
eddies and currents of the stream, soon left their followers, if 
such they were, far astern. In a little while they stretched 
across Turtle bay and Kip's bay, then shrouded themselves in 
the deep shadows of the Manhattan shore, and glided swiftly 
along, secure from observation. At length Sam shot his skiff 
into a little cove, darkly embowered by trees, and made it fast 
to the well known iron ring. They now landed, and lighting 
the lantern, gathered their various implements and proceeded 
slowly through the bushes. Every sound startled them, even 
that of their footsteps among the dry leaves ; and the hooting 
of a screech owl, from the shattered chimney of father red* 
cap's ruin, made their blood run cold. 



ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 253 

In spite of all Wolfert's caution in taking note of the land- 
marks, it was some time before they could find the open place 
among the trees, where the treasure was supposed to be buried. 
At length they came to the ledge of rock ; and on examining its 
surface by the aid of the lantern, Wolfert recognized the three 
mystic crosses. Their hearts beat quick, for the momentous 
trial was at hand that was to determine their hopes. 

The lantern was now held by Wolfert Webber, while the doc- 
tor produced the divining rod. It was a forked twig, one end 
of which was grasped firmly in each hand, while the centre, 
forming the stem, pointed perpendicularly upwards. The doctor 
moved his wand about, within a certain distance of the earth, 
from place to place, but for some time without any effect, while 
Wolfert kept the light of the lantern turned full, upon it, and 
watched it with the most breathless interest. At length the rod 
began slowly to turn. The doctor grasped it with greater ear- 
nestness, his hand trembling with the agitation of his mind. 
The wand continued slowly to turn, until at length the stem 
had reversed its position, and pointed perpendicularly down- 
ward ; and remained pointing to one spot as fixedly as the 
needle to the pole. 

fck This is the spot ! " said the doctor in an almost inaudible 
tone. 

Wolfert's heart was in his throat. 

*> Shall I dig? " said Sam, grasping the spade. 

" Pot* toiifteudfii no! " replied the little doctor, hastily. He 
now ordered his companions to keep close by him and to main- 
tain the most inflexible silence. That certain precautions must 
be taken, and ceremonies used to prevent the evil spirits which 
keep about buried treasure from doing them any harm. The 
doctor then drew a circle round the place, enough to include 
the whole party. He next gathered dry twigs and leaves, and 
made a fire, upon which he threw certain drugs and dried herbs 
which he had brought in his basket. A thick smoke rose, dif- 
fusing a potent odor, savoring marvellously of brimstone and 
assafoutida which, however grateful it might be to the olfactory 
nerves of spirits, nearly strangled poor Wolfert, and produced 
a fit of coughing and wheezing that made the whole grove 
resound. Doctor Knipperhausen then unclasped the volume 
which he had brought under his arm, which was printed in red 
and black characters in German text. While Wolfert held the 
lantern, the doctor, by the aid of his spectacles, read off 
several forms of conjuration in Latin and German. He then 
ordered Sain to seize the pick-axe and proceed to work. The 



254 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

close-bound soil gave obstinate signs of not having been dis- 
turbed for many a year. After having picked his way through 
the surface, Sana came to a bed of sand and gravel, which he 
threw briskly to right and left with the spade. 

"Hark! " said Wolfert, who fancied he heard a trampling 
among the dry leaves, and a rustling through the bushes. Sam 
paused for a moment, and they listened. No footstep was near. 
The bat flitted about them in silence ; a bird roused from its 
nest by the light which glared up among the trees, flew circling 
about the flame. In the profound stillness of the woodland 
they could distinguish the current rippling along the rocky 
shore, and the distant murmuring and roaring of Hell Gate. 

Sam continued his labors, and had already digged a consider- 
able hole. The doctor stood on the edge, reading formulae 
every now arid then from the black-letter volume, or throwing 
more drugs and herbs upon the fire ; while Wolfert bent anx- 
iously over the pit, watching every stroke of the spade. Any 
one witnessing the scene thus strangely lighted up by fire, lan- 
tern, and the reflection of Wolfert's red mantle, might have 
mistaken the little doctor for some foul magician, busied in 
his incantations, and the grizzled- headed Sam as some swart 
goblin, obedient to his commands. 

At length the spade of the fisherman struck upon something 
that sounded hollow. The sound vibrated to Wolfert's heart. 
He struck his spade again. 

44 'Tis a chest/* said Sam. 

"Full of gold, I'll warrant it! " cried Wolfert, clasping his 
hands with rapture. 

Scarcely had he uttered the words when a sound from over- 
head caught his ear. He cast up his eyes, and lo ! by the expir- 
ing light of the fire he beheld, just over the disk of the rock, 
what appeared to be the grim visage of the drowned buccaneer, 
grinning hideously down upon him. 

Wolfert gave a loud cry and let fall the lantern. His panic 
communicated itself to his companions. The negro leaped out 
of the hole, the doctor dropped his book and basket and began 
to pray in German. All was horror and confusion. The fire 
was scattered about, the lantern extinguished. In their hurry- 
skurry they ran against and confounded one another. They 
fancied a legion of hobgoblins let loose upon them, and that 
they saw by the fitful gleams of the scattered embers, strange 
figures in red caps gibbering and ramping around them. The 
doctor ran one way, Mud Sam another, and Wolfert made for 
the water side. As he plunged struggling onwards through 



ADVENTURE OF 8AM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 255 

bush and brake, he heard the tread of some one in pursuit. 
He scrambled frantically forward. The footsteps gained upon 
him. He felt himself grasped by his cloak, when suddenly his 
pursuer was attacked in turn : a fierce fight and struggle ensued 
a pistol was discharged that lit up rock and bush for a period, 
and showed two figures grappling together all was then darker 
than ever. The contest continued the combatants clinched 
each other, and panted and groaned, and rolled among the 
rocks. There was snarling and growling as of a cur, mingled 
with curses in which Wolfert fancied he could recognize the 
voice of the buccaneer. He would fain have fled, but he was 
on the brink of a precipice and could go no farther. 

Again the parties were on their feet ; again there was a tug- 
ging and struggling, as if strength alone could decide the com- 
bat, until one was precipitated from the brow of the cliff and 
sent headlong into the deep stream that whirled below. Wol- 
fert heard the plunge, and a kind of strangling bubbling 
murmur, but the darkness of the night hid every thing from 
view, and the swiftness of the current swept every thing 
instantly out of hearing. One of the combatants was disposed 
of, but whether friend or foe Wolfert could not tell, nor whether 
they might not both be foes. He heard the survivor approach 
and his terror revived. He saw, where the profile of the rocks 
rose against the horizon, a human form advancing. He could 
not be mistaken : it must be the buccaneer. Whither should 
he fly ! a precipice was on one side ; a murderer on the other. 
The enemy approached : he was close at hand. Wolfert at- 
tempted to let himself down the face of the cliff. His cloak 
caught in a thorn that grew on the edge. He was jerked from 
off his feet and held dangling in the air, half choked by the 
string with which his careful wife had fastened the garment 
round his neck. Wolfert thought his last moment had arrived ; 
already had he committed his soul to St. Nicholas, when the 
string broke and he tumbled down the bank, bumping from 
rock to rock and bush to bush, and leaving the red cloak flutter- 
ing like a bloody banner in the air. 

It was a long while before Wolfert came to himself. When 
he opened his eyes the ruddy streaks of the morning were 
already shooting up the sky. He found himself lying in the 
bottom of a boat, grievously battered. He attempted to sit up 
but was too sore and stiff to move. A voice requested him in 
friendly accents to lie still. He turned his eyes toward the 
speaker : it was Dirk Waldron. He had dogged the party, at 
the earnest request of Dame Webber and her daughter, who, 



256 TALES OF A TRAVELLER. 

with the laudable curiosity of their sex, had pried into the 
secret consultations of Wolfert and the doctor. Dirk had been 
completely distanced in following the light skiff of the fisher- 
man, and had just come in time to rescue the poor money- 
digger from his pursuer. 

Thus ended this perilous enterprise. The doctor and Mud 
Sam severally found their way back to the Manhattoes, each 
having some dreadful tale of peril to relate. As to poor Wol- 
fert, instead of returning in triumph, laden with bags of gold, 
he was borne home on a shutter, followed by a rabble rout of 
curious urchins. His wife and daughter saw the dismal pageant 
from a distance, and alarmed the neighborhood with their cries : 
they thought the poor man had suddenly settled the great debt 
of nature in one of his wayward moods. Finding him, however, 
still living, they had him conveyed speedily to bed, and a jury 
of old matrons of the neighborhood assembled to determine how 
he should be doctored. The whole town was in a buzz with 
the story of the money-diggers. Many repaired to the scene 
of the previous night's adventures : but though they found the 
very place of the digging, they discovered nothing that com- 
pensated for their trouble. Some say they found the fragments 
of an oaken chest and an iron pot-lid, which savored strongly 
of hidden money ; and that in the old family vault there were 
traces of bales and boxes, but this is all very dubious. 

In fact, the secret of all this story has never to this day been 
discovered : whether any treasure was ever actually buried at 
that place ; whether, if so, it was carried off at night by those 
who had buried it ; or whether it still remains there under the 
guardianship of gnomes and spirits until it shall be properly 
sought for, is all matter of conjecture. For my part I incline 
to the latter opinion, and make no doubt that great sums lie 
buried, both there and in many other parts of this island and 
its neighborhood, ever since the times of the buccaneers and the 
Dutch colonists ; and I would earnestly recommend the search 
after them to such of my fellow citizens as are not engaged in 
any other speculations. 

There were many conjectures formed, also, as to who and 
what was the strange man of the seas who had domineered 
over the little fraternity at Corlears Hook for a time ; disap- 
peared so strangely, and reappeared so fearfully. Some sup- 
posed him a smuggler stationed at that place to assist his 
comrades in landing their goods among the rocky coves of the 
island. Others that he was a buccaneer; one of the ancient 
comrades either of Kidd or Bradish, returned to convey away 



ADVENTURE OF SAM, THE BLACK FISHERMAN. 257 

treasures formerly hidden in the vicinity. The only circum- 
stance that throws any thing like a vague light over this 
mysterious matter is a report that prevailed of a strange for- 
eign-built shallop, with the look of a piccaroon, having been 
seen hovering about the Sound for several days without landing 
or reporting herself, though boats were seen going to and from 
her at night : and that she was seen standing out of the mouth 
of the harbor, in the gray of the dawn after the catastrophe of 
the money-diggers. 

I must not omit to mention another report, also, which I 
confess is rather apocryphal, of the buccaneer, who was sup- 
posed to have been drowned, being seen before daybreak, with 
a lantern in his hand, seated astride his great sea-chest and 
sailing through Hell Gate, which just then began to roar and 
bellow with redoubled fury. 

While ail the gossip world was thus filled with talk and 
rumor, poor Wolfert lay sick and sorrowful in his bed, bruised 
in body and sorely beaten down in mind. His wife and daugh- 
ter did all they could to bind up his wounds both corporal and 
spiritual. The good old dame never stirred from his bedside, 
where she sat knitting from morning till night; while his 
daughter busied herself about him with the fondest care. Nor 
did they lack assistance from abroad. Whatever may be said 
of the desertions of friends in distress, they had no complaint 
of the kind to make. Not an old wife of the neighborhood but 
abandoned her work to crowd to the mansion of Wolfert 
Webber, inquire after his health and the particulars of his 
story. Not one came, moreover, without her little pipkin of 
pennyroyal, sage, balm, or other herb-tea, delighted at an 
opportunity of signalizing her kindness and her doctorship. 
What drenchings did not the poor Wolfert undergo, and ail in 
vain. It was a moving sight to behold him wasting away day 
by day ; growing thinner and thinner and ghastlier and ghast- 
lier, and staring with rueful visage from under an old patch- 
work counterpane upon the jury of matrons kindly assembled to 
sigh and groan and look unhappy around him. 

Dirk Waldron was the only being that seemed to shed a ray 
of sunshine into this house of mourning. He came in with 
cheery look and manly spirit, and tried to reanimate -the 
expiring heart of the poor money-digger, but it was all in vain. 
Wolfert was completely done over. If any thing was wanting 
to complete his despair, it was a notice served upon him in the 
.midst of his distress, that the corporation were about to run a 
new street through the very centre of his cabbage garden. He 



OF A 

taw nothing before him but poverty and ruin ; his last reliance; 
the garden of his forefathers, was to be laid waste, and what 
then was to become of his poor wife and child ? 
* His eyes filled with tears as they followed the dutiful Amy 
out of the room one morning. Dirk Waldron was seated beside 
him ; Wolfert grasped his hand, pointed after his daughter, and 
"for the first time since his illness broke the silence he had main- 
tained. 

" I am going ! " said he, shaking his head feebly, " and when 
I am gone my poor daughter " 

44 Leave her to me, father!" said Dirk, manfully "I'll 
take care of her !" 

Wolfert looked up in the face of the cheery, strapping 
youngster, and saw there was none better able to take care of a 
woman. 

4 'Enough," said he, " she is yours! and now fetch me a 
lawyer let me make my will and die." 

The lawyer was brought a dapper, bustling, round-headed 
little man, Roorback (or Rollebuck, as it was pronounced) by 
name. At the sight of him the women broke into loud lamen- 
tations, for they looked upon the signing of a will as the signing 
of a death-warrant. Wolfert made a feeble motion for them to 
be silent. Poor Amy buried her face and her grief in the bed- 
Curtain. Dame Webber resumed her knitting to hide her dis- 
tress, which betrayed itself, however, in a pellucid tear, that 
trickled silently down and hung at the end of her peaked nose ; 
while the cat, the only unconcerned member of the family, 
played with the good dame's ball of worsted, as it rolled about 
the floor. 

Wolfert lay on his back, his nightcap drawn over his fore- 
head ; his eyes closed ; his whole visage the picture of death. 
He begged the lawyer to be brief, for he felt his end approach- 
ing, and that he had no time to lose. The lawyer nibbed his 
pen, spread out his paper, and prepared to write. 

44 1 give and bequeath," said Wolfert, faintly, "my small 
farm " 

" What all ! " exclaimed the lawyer. 

Wolfert half opened his eyes and looked upon the lawyer. 

"Yes all," said he. 

" What ! all that great patch of land with cabbages and sun- 
flowers, which the corporation is just going to run a main street 
through?" 

44 The same," said Wolfert, with a heavy *igh and sinking 
teck upon ins pillow. 



ADVENTURE OF 8AM, T&& BJ^CUST FISHERMAN. 

44 1 wish him joy that inherits it!" said the little lawyer^ 
chuckling and rubbing his hands involuntarily, 

44 What do you mean ? " said Wolfert, again opening his eyes. 

44 That he'll be one of the richest men in the place ! " cried 
little Roliebuck. 

The expiring Wolfert seemed to step pack from the threshold 
of existence : his eyes again lighted up ; he raised himself in his 
bed, shoved back his red worsted nightcap, and stared broadly 
at the lawyer. 

44 You don't say so ! " exclaimed he. 

44 Faith, but I do ! " rejoined the other* 44 Why, when that 
great field and that piece of meadow come to be laid out in 
streets, and cut up into snug building lots why, whoever owns 
them need not pull off his hat to the patroon ! " 

44 Say you so? " cried Wolfert, half thrusting one leg out of 
bed, 44 why, then I think I'll not make my will yet ! " 

To the surprise of everybody the dying man actually re- 
covered. The vital spark which had glimmered faintly in the 
socket, received fresh fuel from the oil of gladness, which the 
little lawyer poured into his soul. It once more burnt up into a 
flame. 

Give physic to the heart, ye who would revive the body of a 
spirit-broken man I In a few days Wolfert left his room ; in a 
few days more his table was covered with deeds, plans of streets 
and building lots. Little Roliebuck was constantly with him, 
his right-hand man and adviser, and instead of making his will, 
assisted in the more agreeable task of making his fortune. In 
fact, Wolfert Webber was one of those worthy Dutch burghers 
of the Manhattoes whose fortunes have been made, in a manner, 
in spite of themselves ; who have tenaciously held on to their 
hereditary acres, raising turnips and cabbages about the skirts 
of the city, hardly able to make both ends meet, until the cor- 
poration has cruelly driven streets through their alxxles, and 
they have suddenly awakened out of a lethargy, and, to their 
astonishment, found themselves rich men. 

Before many months had elapsed a great bustling street 
passed through the very centre of the Webber garden, just 
where Wolfert had dreamed of finding a treasure. His golden 
dream was accomplished ; he did indeed find an unlooked-for 
source of wealth ; for, when his paternal lands were distributed 
into building lots, and rented out to safe tenants, instead of 
producing a paltry crop of cabbages, they returned him an 
abundant crop of rents ; insomuch that on quarter day, it was a 
goodly sight to see his tenants rapping at his door, f rorn mom- 



TALKS OP A 

ing to night, each with a little round-bellied bag of money, the 
golden produce of the soil. 

The ancient mansion of his forefathers was still kept up, but 
instead of being a little yellow-fronted Dutch house in a gar- 
den, it now stood boldly in the midst of a street, the grand 
house of the neighborhood ; for Wolfert enlarged it with a wing 
on each side, and a cupola or tea room on top, where he might 
climb up and smoke his pipe in hot weather ; and in the course 
of time the whole mansion was overrun by the chubby-faced 
progeny of Amy Webber and Dirk Waldron. 

As Wolfert waxed old and rich and corpulent, he also set up 
ft great gingerbread-colored carriage drawn by a pair of black 
Flanders mares with tails that swept the ground ; and to com- 
memorate the origin of his greatness he had for a crest a full- 
blown cabbage painted on the panels, with the pithy motto 
3llf8 itopf: that is to say, ALL HEAD ; meaning thereby that he 
had risen by sheer head-work. 

To fill the measure of his greatness, in the fulness of time 
the renowned Ramm Rapelye slept with his fathers, and Wol- 
fert Webber succeeded to the leathern-bottomed arm-chair in 
the inn parlor at Corlears Hook ; where he long reigned greatly 
honored and respected, insomuch that he was never known to 
tell a story without its being believed, nor to utter a joke with- 
out its being laughed at. 



BRACEBRIDGE HALL: 



OB, 



THE HUMORISTS. 



BT 



WASHINGTON IRVING. 



"Under this cloud I walk, gentlemen; pardon my rude assault. I am a 
traveller, who, having surveyed most of the terrestrial angles of this globe, 
mm hither arrived, to peruse tnis little spot.*' CHRISTMAS ORDINARY. 




NEW 1'ORK: 
THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO., 



FEBS0 OF 

Iftocfctoell anU 

. BOSTON. 



BRACEBRIDGE HALL; OR, THE HUMORISTS. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGB 

THE HALL 10 

THE BUST MAN 12 

FAMILY SERVANTS 16 

THE WIDOW 20 

THE LOVERS 23 

FAMILY RELIQUES 26 

AN OLD SOLDIER 29 

THE WIDOW'S RETINUE 32 

READY-MONEY JACK 35 

BACHELORS 39 

WIVES 42 

STORY-TELLING 46 

THE STOUT GENTLEMAN 47 

FOREST TREES 66 

A LITERARY ANTIQUARY 60 

THE FARM-HOUSE 64 

HORSEMANSHIP 67 

LOVE SYMPTOMS 70 

FALCONRY 72 

HAWKINJJG 75 

ST. MARK'S EVE 80 

GENTILITY 87 

FORTUNE-TELLING 90 

LOVE-CHARMS 93 

THE LIBRARY 96 

THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA 98 

ENGLISH COUNTRY GENTLEMEN 156 

A BACHELOR'S CONFESSIONS 162 

ENGLISH GRAVITY 165 

GYPSIES 169 

MAY-DAY CUSTOMS 172 

VILLAGE WORTHIES 176 

THE SCHOOLMASTER 178 

THE SCHOOL 182 

8 



4 CONTENTS. 

PACE 

A VILLAGE POLITICIAN i84 

THE ROOKEBT 187 

MAY-DAY 193 

IHE MANUSCRIPT 200 

ANNETTE DELARBRE 202 

TRAVELLING 219 

POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS 224 

THE CULPRIT . , 281 

FAMILY MISFORTUNES , 286 

LOVERS' TROUBLES 288 

THE HISTORIAN , 242 

THE HAUNTED HOUSE 244 

DOLPH HEYLIGER 247 

THE STORM-SHIP 278 

THE WEDDING 299 

THE AUTHOR'S FAREWELL 306 



BRACEBRIDGE HALL; 



OR, 



r P TT TP TT TT TV/f" O "R T d T 1 Cl 
JL Jt Hi JtjL U JxL W Jri J. o J. Q, 



A MEDLEY. 



BY GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 



Under thia cloud I walk, Gentlemen ; pardon my rude assault. I am a traveller, who, 
having surveyed most of the terrestrial angles of this globe, am hither arrived, to peruse 
this little spot. CHRISTMAS ORDINARY. 

THE AUTHOR. 
WORTHY READER! 

ON again taking pen in hand, I would fain make a few ob- 
servations at the outset, by way of bespeaking a right under- 
standing. The volumes which I have already published have 
met with a reception far beyond my most sanguine expectations. 
I would willingly attribute this to their intrinsic merits ; but, in 
spite of the vanity of authorship, I cannot but be sensible that 
their success has, in a great measure, been owing to a less flat- 
tering cause. It has been a matter of marvel, to my European 
readers, that a man from the wilds of America should express 
himself in tolerable English. I was looked upon as something 
new and strange in literature ; a kind of demi-savage, with a 
feather in bis hand, instead of on his head ; and there was a 
curiosity to hear what such a being had to say about civilized 
society. 

This novelty is now at an end, and of course the feeling of 
indulgence which it produced. I must now expect to bear the 
scrutiny of sterner criticism, and to be measured by the same 
standard with contemporary writers ; and the very favor which 
has been shown to my previous writings, will cause these to be 

5 



HALL. 

treated with the greater rigor ; as there is nothing fbr which 
the world is apt to punish a man more severely, than for having 
been over-praised. On this head, therefore, I wish to forestall 
the censoriousness of the reader ; and I entreat he will not think 
the worse of me for the many injudicious things that may have 
been said in my commendation. 

1 am aware that I often travel over beaten ground, and treat 
of subjects that have already been discussed by abler pens. 
Indeed, various authors have been mentioned as my models, to 
whom I should feel flattered if I thought I bore the slightest 
resemblance ; but in truth I write after no model that J am con- 
scious of, and I write with no idea of imitation or competition. 
In venturing occasionally on topics that have already been 
almost exhausted by English authors, J do it, not with the pre- 
sumption of challenging a comparison, but with the hope that 
some new interest may be given to such topics, when discussed 
by the pen of a stranger. 

If, therefore, I should sometimes be found dwelling with 
fondness on subjects that are trite and commonplace with the 
reader, I beg that the circumstances under which I write may 
be kept in recollection. Having been born and brought up in a 
new country, yet educated from infancy in the literature of an 
old one, my mind was early filled with historical and poetical 
associations, connected with places, and manners, and customs 
of Europe ; but which could rarely be applied to those of my 
own country. To a mind thus peculiarly prepared, the most 
ordinary objects and scenes, on arriving in Europe, are full of 
strange matter and interesting novelty. England is as classic 
ground to an American as Italy is to an Englishman ; and old 
London teems with as much historical association as miehtv 

T*fc * J 

Borne. 

Indeed, it is difficult to describe the whimsical medley of 
ideas that throng upon his mind, on landing among English 
scenes. He, for the first time, sees a world about which he has 
beeu reading and thinking in every stage of his existence. The 
recollected ideas of infancy, youth, and manhood ; of the nurs- 
ery, the school, and the study, come swarming at once upon him ; 
and his attention is distracted between great and little objects ; 
each of which, perhaps, awakens an equally delightful train of 
remembrances. 

' But what more especially attracts his notice, are those pecu- 
liarities which distinguish an old country and an old state of 
society from a new one. I have never yet grown familiar 
enough with the crumbling monuments of past ages, to blunt 



TBE AVTKOR. T 

the intense interest with which I at first beheld them. Accttfc- 
tomed always to scenes where history was, in a manner, Joj 
anticipation ; where every thing in art was new and progressive* 
and pointed to the future rather than to the past; where, in 
short, the works of man gave no ideas but those of young 
existence, and prospective improvement ; there was something 
inexpressibly touching in the sight of enormous piles of archi- 
tecture, gray with antiquity, and sinking into decay. I cannot 
describe the mute but deep-felt enthusiasm with which I have 
contemplated a vast monastic ruin, like Tin tern Abbey, buried 
in the bosom of a quiet valley, and shut up from the world, as 
though it had existed merely for itself ; or a warrior pile, like 
Conway Castle, standing in stem loneliness on its rocky height, 
a mere hollow yet threatening phantom of departed power. 
They spread a grand, and melancholy, and, to me, an unusual 
charm over the landscape ; I, for the first time, beheld signs of 
national old age, an empire's decay, and proofs of the tran- 
sient and perishing glories of art, amidst the ever-springing 
and reviving fertility of nature. 

But, in fact, to me every thing was full of matter ; the foot- 
steps of histoiy were everywhere to be traced ; and poetry had 
breathed over and sanctified the land. I experienced the de- 
lightful freshness of feeling of a child, to whom every thing is 
new. I pictured to myself a set of inhabitants and a mode of 
life for every habitation that I saw, from the a'ristocratical 
mansion, amidst the lordly repose of stately groves and solitary 
parts, to the straw-thatched cottage, with its scanty garden and 
its cherished woodbine. I thought I never could be sated with 
the sweetness and freshness of a country so completely carpeted 
with verdure ; where every air breathed of the balmy pasture, 
and the honey -suckled hedge. I was continually coining upon 
some little document of poetry, in the blossomed hawthorn, the 
daisy, the cowslip, the primrose, or some other simple object 
that has received a supernatural value from the muse. The 
first time that I heard the song of the nightingale, I was intoxi- 
cated more by the delicious crowd of remembered associations 
than by the melody of its notes ; and I shall never forget the 
thrill of ecstasy with which I first saw the lark rise, almost 
from beneath my feet, and wing its musical flight up into the 
morning sky. 

In this way I traversed England, a grown-up child, delighted 
by every object, great and small ; and betraying a wondering 
ignorance, and simple enjoyment, that provoked many a stare 
aud a smile from iny wiser and more experienced fellow-trav* 



8 BRACSBStlDGB HALL. 

k * '"' 

eUero. Such too was the odd confusion of associations that 
kept breaking upon me, as I first approached London. One of 
nay earliest wishes had been to see this great metropolis. I had 
read so much about ft in the earliest books that bad been put 
into my infant hands ; and I had heard so much about it from 
those around me who had come from the u old countries." I 
was familiar with the names of its streets, and squares, and 
public places, before I knew those of my native city. Jt was, 
to me, the great centre of the world, round which ever}' thing 
seemed to revolve. 1 recollect contemplating so wistfully, when 
a boy, a paltry little print of the Thames, and London Bridge, 
and St. Paul's, that was in front of an old magazine ; and a pic- 
ture of Kensington Gardens, with gentlemen in three-cornered 
hats and broad skirts, and ladies in hoops and lappets, that 
hung up in my bedroom ; even the venerable cut of St. 
John's Gate, that has stood, time out of mind, in front of the 
Gentleman's Magazine, was not without its charms to me ; and 
I envied the odd-looking little men that appeared to be loitering 
about its arches. 

How then did my heart warm when the towers of West- 
minster Abbey were pointed out to me, rising above the rich 
groves of St. James's Park, with a thin blue haze about their 
gray pinnacles ! I could not behold this great mausoleum of 
what is most illustrious in our paternal history, without feeling 
my enthusiasm in a glow. With what eagerness did I explore 
every part of the metropolis! I was not content with those 
matters which occupy the dignified research of the learned 
traveller ; I delighted to call up all the feelings of childhood, and 
to seek after those objects which had been the wonders of my 
infancy. London Bridge, so famous in nursery songs ; the far- 
famed Monument ; Gog and Magog, and the Lions in the Tower, 
all brought back many a recollection of infantile delight, and 
of good old beings, now no more, who had gossiped about them 
to my wondering ear. Nor was it without a recurrence of 
childish interest, that I first peeped into Mr. Newberry's shop, 
in St. Paul's Church-yard, that fountain-head of literature. 
Mr. Newberry was the first that ever filled my infant mind 
with the idea of a great and good man. He published all the 
picture-books of the day ; and, out of his abundant love for 
children, he charged " nothing for either paper or print, and 
only a penny-halfpenny for the binding ! " 

I have mentioned these circumstances, worthy reader, to 
show you the whimsical crowd of associations that are apt to 
beeet my mind on mingling among English scenes. I hope they 



THE AUTHOR. 9 

may, in some measure, plead my apology, should I be found 
harping upon stale and trivial themes, or indulging an over- 
foijdness for any thing antique and obsolete. I know it is the 
humor, not to say cant of the day, to run riot about old times, 
old books, old customs, and old buildings ; with myself, how- 
ever, as far as I have caught the contagion, the feeling is 
genuine. To a man from a young country, all old things are 
in a manner new ; and he may surely be excused in being a 
little curious about antiquities, whose native land, unfortu- 
nately, cannot boast of a single ruin. 

Having been brought up, also, in the comparative simplicity 
of a republic, I am apt to be struck with even the ordinary 
circumstances incident to an aristocratical state of society. If, 
however, I should at any time amuse myself by pointing out 
some of the eccentricities, and some of the poetical character- 
istics of the latter, I would not be understood as pretending to 
decide upon its political merits. My only aim is to paint char- 
acters and manners. I am no politician. The more I have 
considered the study of politics, the more I have found it full 
of perplexity ; and I have contented myself, as I have in my 
religion, with the faith in which I was brought up, regulating 
my own conduct by its precepts; but leaving to abler heads 
the task of making converts. 

I shall continue on, therefore, in the course I have hitherto 
pursued ; looking at things poetically, rather than politically ; 
describing them as they are, rather than pretending to point 
out how they should be ; and endeavoring to see the world in 
as pleasant a light us circumstances will permit. 

I have always had an opinion that much good might be done 
by keeping mankind in good-humor with one another. I may 
be wrong in my philosophy, but I shall continue to practise it 
until convinced of its fallacy. When I discover the world to 
be all that it .has been represented by sneering cynics and 
whining poets, I will turn to and abuse it also ; in the mean 
while, worthy reader, I hope you will not think lightly of me, 
because I cannot believe this to be so very bad a world as it is 
represented. 

Thine truly, 

GEOFFREY CRAYON. 



10 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 



THE HALL. 

The ancient house, and the best for housekeeping in this country or the next; and 
though the master of it write but squire, 1 know no lord like him. Merry Beggar*. 

THE reader, if he has perused the volumes of the Sketch- 
Book, will probably recollect something of the Bracebriclge 
family, with which I once passed a Christmas. I am now on 
.another visit to the Hall, having been invited to a wedding 
which is shortly to take place. The Squire's second son, Guy, 
a fine, spirited young captain in the army, is about to be mar- 
ried to his father's ward, the fair Julia Templeton. A gather- 
ing of relations and friends has already commenced, to celebrate 
the joyful occasion ; for the old gentleman is an enemy to quiet, 
private weddings. " There is nothing," he says, " like launch- 
ing a young couple gayly, and cheering them from the shore \ 
a good outset is half the voyage." 

Before proceeding any farther, I would beg that the Squire 
might not be confounded with that class of hard-riding, fox- 
hunting gentlemen so often described, and, in fact, so nearly 
extinct in England. I use this rural title partly because it is 
his universal appellation throughout the neighborhood, and 
partly because it saves me the frequent repetition of his name, 
which is one of those rough English names at which French- 
men exclaim in despair. 

The Squire is, in fact, a lingering specimen of the old English 
country gentleman ; rusticated a little by living almost entirely 
on his estate, and something of a humorist, as Englishmen are 
apt to become when they have an opportunity of living in their 
own way. I like his hobby passing well, however, which is. a 
bigoted devotion to old English manners and customs ; it jumps 
a little with my own humor, having as yet a lively and unsatetl 
curiosity about the ancient and genuine characteristics of my 
" father land." 

There are some traits about the Squire's family, also, which 
appear to me to be national. It is one of those old aristocrati- 
Cftl families, which, I believe, are peculiar to England, and 
scarcely understood in other countries ; that is to say, families 
of the ancient gentry, who, though destitute of titled rank, main- 
tain a high ancestral pride ; who look down upon all nobility of 
recent creation, and would consider it a sacrifice of dignity to 
the venerable name of their house in a modem tiw. 



THE HALL. U 

This feeling was very much fostered by the importance which 
they enjoy on their hereditary domains. The family mansion 
is an old manor-house, standing in a retired and beautiful part 
of Yorkshire. Its inhabitants have been always regarded, 
through the surrounding country, as "the great ones of the 
earth;" and the little village near the Hall looks up to the 
Squire with almost feudal homage. An old manor-house, and 
an old family of this kind, are rarely to be met with at the 
present day ; and it is probably the peculiar humor of the 
Squire that has retained this secluded specimen of English 
housekeeping in something like the genuine old style. 

I am again quartered in the panelled chamber, in the antique 
wing of the house. The prospect from the window, however, 
has quite a different aspect from that which it wore on my 
winter visit. Though early in the month of April, yet a few 
warm, sunshiny days have drawn forth the beauties of the 
spring, which, I think, are always most captivating on their 
first opening. The parterres of the old-fashioned garden are 
gay with flowers ; and the gardener has brought out his exotics, 
and placed them along the stone balustrades. The trees are 
clothed with green buds and tender leaves. When I throw 
open my jingling casement, 1 smell the odor of mignonette, and 
hear the hum of the bees from the flowers against the sunny 
wall, with the varied song of the throstle, and the cheerful notes 
of the tuneful little wren. 

While sojourning in this stronghold of old fashions, it is my 
intention to make occasional sketches of the scenes and char- 
acters before me. I would have it understood, however, that I 
am not writing a novel, and have nothing of intricate plot, or 
marvellous adventure, to promise the reader. The Hall of which 
I treat, has, for aught I know, neither trap-door, nor sliding- 
panel, nor donjon-keep ; and indeed appears to have no mys- 
tery about it. The family is a worthy, well-meaning family, 
that, in all probability, will eat and drink, and go to bed, and 
get up regularly, from one end of my work to the other ; and 
the Squire is so kind- hearted an old gentleman, that I see no 
likelihood of his throwing any kind of distress in the way of 
the approaching nuptials. In a word, I cannot foresee a single 
extraordinary event that is likely to occur in the whole term of 
my sojourn at the Hall. 

I tell this honestly to the reader, lest, when he finds me dal- 
lying along, through every-day English scenes, he may hurry 
ahead, in hopes of meeting with some marvellous adventure 
farther on. I invite him, on the contrary, to ramble gently oh 



Ife BBACEBRIDGE BALL. 

with me, as he would saunter out into the fields, stopping occa,' 
stonally to gather a flower, or listen to a bird, or admire a pros- 
pect, without any anxiety to arrive at the end of his career. 
Should I, however, in the course of my loiterings about this old 
mansion, see or hear any thing curious, that might serve to vary 
the monotony of this every-day life, I shall not fail to report it 
for the reader's entertainment : 

For freshest wits I know will soon be wearie 

Of any book, how grave so e'er it be, 
Except it have odd matter, strange and merrie, 

Well sauc'd with lies and glared all with glee.* 



THE BUSY MAN. 

A decayed gentleman, who lives most upon his own mirth and my master's means, 
and much good do him with it. He does hold my master up with his stories, and songs, 
and catches, and such tricks and jigs, you would admire he is with him now. Jovial 
Crew. 

BY no one has my return to the Hall been more heartily 
greeted than by Mr. Simon Bracebridge, or Master Simon, as 
the Squire most commonly calls him. I encountered him just 
as I entered the park, where he was breaking a pointer, and he 
received me with all the hospitable cordiality with which a man 
welcomes a friend to another one's house. I have already in- 
troduced him to the reader as a brisk old bachelor-looking little 
man ; the wit and superannuated beau of a large family con- 
nection, and the Squire's factotum. I found him, as usual, 
full of bustle ; with a thousand petty things to do, and persons 
to attend to, and in chirping good-humor; for there are few 
happier beings than a busy idler ; that is to say, a man who is 
eternally busy about nothing. 

I visited him, the morning after my arrival, in his chamber, 
which is in a remote corner of the mansion, as he says he likes 
to be to himself, and out of the way. He has fitted it up in his 
own taste, so that it is a perfect epitome of an old bachelor's 
notions of convenience and arrangement. The furniture is 
made up of odd pieces from ail parts of the house, chosen on 
account of their suiting his notions, or fitting some corner of 
his apartment ; and he is very eloquent in praise of an ancient 

* Mirror for Magistrates. 



THE BUSY MAN. 

elbow-chair, from which he takes occasion to digress into a 
censure on modern chairs, as having degenerated from the dig- 
nity and comfort of high-backed antiquity. 

Adjoining to his room is a small cabinet, which he calls his 
study. Here are some hanging shelves, of his own construc- 
tion, on which are several old works on hawking, hunting, and 
farriery, and a collection or two of poems and songs of the 
reign of Elizabeth, which he studies out of compliment to the 
Squire ; together with the Novelist's Magazine, the Sporting 
Magazine, the Racing Calendar, a volume or two of the New- 
gate Calendar, a book of peerage, and another of heraldry. 

His sporting dresses hang on pegs in a small closet; and 
about the walls of his apartment are hooks to hold his fishing- 
tackle, whips, spurs, and a favorite fowling-piece, curiously 
wrought and inlaid, which he inherits from his grandfather. 
He has, also, a couple of old single-keyed flutes, and a fiddle 
which he has repeatedly patched and mended himself, affirming 
it to be a veritable Cremona, though I have never heard him 
extract a single note from it that was not enough to make one ' 
blood run cold. 

From this little nest his fiddle will often be heard, in the 
stillness of mid-day, drowsily sawing some long-forgotten tune ; 
for he prides himself on having a choice collection of good old 
English music, and will scarcely have any thiug to do with 
modern composers. The time, however, at which his musical 
powers are of most use, is now and then of an evening, when 
he plays for the children to dance in the hall, aud he passes 
among them and the servants for a perfect Orpheus, 

His chamber also bears evidence of his various avocations : 
there are half- copied sheets of music ; designs for needle- work ; 
sketches of landscapes, very indifferently executed ; a camera 
lucida ; a magic lantern, for which he is endeavoring to paint 
glasses ; in a word, it is the cabinet of a ma*n of many accom- 
plishments, who knows a little of every thing, and does nothing 
well. 

After I had spent some time in his apartment, admiring the 
ingenuity of his small inventions, he took me about the estab- 
lishment, to visit the stables, dog-kennel, and other dependent 
cies, in which he appeared like a general visiting the different 
quarters of his camp ; as the Squire leaves the control of all 
these matters to him, when he is at the Hall. He inquired 
into the state of the horses ; examined their feet ; prescribed a 
drench for one, and bleeding for another ; and then took me to 
look at his own horse, on the merits of which lie dwelt with 



14 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

great prolixity, and which, I noticed, had the best stall in the 
stable* 

After this I was taken to a new toy of his and the Squire's, 
which he termed the falconry, where there were several unhappy 
birds in durance, completing their education. Among the num- 
ber was a fine falcon, which Master Simon had in especial 
training, and he told me that he would show me, in a few days, 
some rare sport of the good old-fashioned kind. In the course 
of our round, I noticed that the grooms, game-keeper, whip- 
pers-in, and other retainers, seemed all to be on somewhat of a 
familiar footing with Master Simon, and fond of having a joke 
with him, though it was evident they had great deference for 
his opinion in matters relating to their functions. 

There was one exception, however, in a testy old huntsman, 
as hot as a pepper-corn ; a meagre, wiry old fellow, in a thread- 
bare velvet jockey cap, and a pair of leather breeches, that, 
from much wear, shone, as though they had been japanned. 
He was very contradictory and pragmatical, and apt, as I 
thought, to differ from Master Simon now and then, out of 
mere captiousness. This was particularly the case with respect 
to the treatment of the hawk, which the old man seemed to 
have under his peculiar care, and, according to Master Simon, 
was in a fair way to ruin : the latter had a vast deal to say 
about casting, and imping ^ and gleaming, and enseaming, and 
giving the hawk the rangle, which I saw was all heathen 
Greek to old Christy ; but he maintained his point notwith- 
standing, and seemed to hold all this technical lore in utter 
disrespect. 

I was surprised with the good-humor with which Master 
Simon bore his contradictions, till he explained the matter to 
me afterwards. Old Christy is the most ancient servant in the 
place, having livec^ among dogs and horses the greater part of 
a century, and been in the service of Mr. Bracebridge's father. 
He knows the pedigree of every horse on the place, and has 
bestrode the great-great-graudsires of most of them. He can 
give a circumstantial detail of every fox-hunt for the last sixty 
or seventy years, and has a history for every stag's head about 
the house, and every hunting trophy nailed to the door of the 
dog-kennel. 

All the present race have grown up under his eye, and humor 
him in his old age. He once attended the. Squire to^Oxford, 
when he was a student there, and enlightened the whole univer- 
sity with his hunting lore. All this is enough to make the old 
man opinionated, since he finds, on all these matters of first* 



THE BUS$ MAN* W . 1ft 

rate importance, he knows more than the rest of the world. 
Indeed, Master Simon had been his pupil, and acknowledges 
that he derived his first knowledgeJn hunting from the instruc- 
tions of Christy ; and I much question whether the* old man 
does not still look upon him rather as a greenhorn. 

On our return homewards, as we were crossing the lawn in 
front of the house, we heard the porter's bell ring at the lodge, 
and shortly afterwards, a kind of cavalcade advanced slowly 
up the avenue. At sight of it my companion paused, consid- 
ered it for a moment, and then, making a sudden exclamation, 
hurried away to meet it. As it approached, I discovered a fair, 
fresh-looking elderly lady, dressed in an old-fashioned riding- 
habit, with a broad-brimmed white beaver hat, such as may be 
seen in Sir Joshua Reynolds' paintings. She rode a sleek white 
pony, and was followed by a footman in rich livery, mounted 
on an over-fed hunter. At a little distance in the rear came an 
ancient cumbrous chariot, drawn by two very corpulent horses, 
driven by as corpulent a coachman, beside whom sat a page 
dressed in a fanciful green livery. Inside of the chariot was 
a starched prim personage, with a look somewhat between a 
lady's companion and a'lady's maid ; and two pampered curs, 
that showed their ugly faces, and barked out of each window. 

There was a general turning out of the garrison, to receive 
this new comer. The Squire assisted her to alight, and saluted 
her affectionately ; the fair Julia flew into her arms, and they 
embraced with the romantic fervor of boarding-school friends : 
she was escorted into the house by Julia's lover, towards whom 
she showed distinguished favor ; and a line of the old servants, 
who had collected in the Hall, bowed most profoundly as she 
passed. 

I observed that Master Simon was most assiduous and devout 
in his attentions upon this old lady. He walked by the side 
of her pony, up the avenue ; and, while she was receiving the 
salutations of the rest of the family, he took occasion to notice 
the fat coachman ; to pat the sleek carriage horses, and, above 
all, to say a civil word to my lady's gentlewoman, the prim, 
sour-looking vestal in the chariot. 

I had no more of his company for the rest of the morning. 
He was swept off in the vortex that followed in the wake of 
tibis lady. Once indeed he paused for a moment, as he was 
hurrying on some errand of the good lady's, to let me know 
that this was Lady Lilly craft, a sister of the Squire's, of large 
fortune, which the captain would inherit, and that her estate 
in one of the best sporting counties in all England. 



16 BBACEBRIDGE HALL. 



FAMILY SERVANTS. 

Verily old servants are the vouchers of worthy housekeeping. They are like rate in 
* mansion, or mites in a cheese, bespeaking the antiquity and fatness of their abode. 



my casual anecdotes of the Hall, I may often be tempted 
to dwell on circumstances of a trite and ordinary nature, from 
their appearing to me illustrative of genuine national character. 
It seems to be the study of the Squire to adhere, as much as 
possible, to what he considers the old landmarks of English 
manners. His servants all understand his ways, and for the 
most part have been accustomed to them from infancy ; so that, 
upon the whole, his household presents one of the few tolerable 
specimens that can now be met with, of the establishment of 
an English country gentleman of the old school. 

By the by, the servants are not the least characteristic part 
of the household : the housekeeper, for instance, has been bora 
and brought up at the Hall, and has never been twenty miles 
from it; yet she has a stately air, tht would not disgrace ft 
lady that had figured at the court of Queen Elizabeth. 

1 am half inclined to think that she has caught it from living 
'so much among the old family pictures. It may, however, be 
owing to a consciousness of her importance in the sphere in 
which she has always moved ; for she is greatly respected in 
the neighboring village, and among the farmers' wives, and has 
high authority in the household, ruling over the servants with 
quiot, but undisputed sway. 

She is a thin old lady, with blue eyes and pointed nose and 
chin. Her dress is always the same as to fashion. She wears 
a small, well-starched ruff, a laced stomacher, full petticoats, 
and a gown festooned and open in front, which, on particular 
occasions, is of ancient silk, the legacy of some former dame of 
the family, or an inheritance from her mother, who was house- 
keeper before her. I have a reverence for these old garments, 
as I make no doubt they have figured about these apartments 
in days long past, when they have set off the charms of some 
peerless family beauty ; and I have sometimes looked from the 
aid housekeeper to the neighboring portraits, to see whether I 
could not recognize her . antiquated brocade in the dress of 
some one of those long-waisted dames that smile on me from 
tfoe walls. 

Her hair, which is quite white, is frizzed out in front, and 



FAMILY SERVANTS. 17 

she wears over it a small cap, nicely plaited, and brought down 
under the chin. Her manners are simple and primitive, height- 
ened a little by a proper dignity of station. 

The Hall is her world, and the history of the family the only 
history she knows, excepting that which she has read in the 
Bible. She can give a biography of every portrait in the 
picture gallerj% and is a complete family chronicle. 

She is treated with great consideration by the Squire. In- 
deed, Master Simon tells me that there is a traditional anecdote 
current among the servants, of the Squire's having been seen 
kissing her in the picture gallery, when they were both young. 
As, however, nothing further was ever noticed between them, 
the circumstance caused no great scandal ; only she was ob- 
served to take to reading Pamela shortly afterwards, and refused 
the hand of the village inn-keeper, whom she had previously 
smiled on. 

The old butler, who was formerly footman, and a rejected 
admirer of hers, used to tell the anecdote now and then, at those 
little cabals that will occasionally take place among the most 
orderly servants, arising from the common propensity of the 
governed to talk against administration ; but he has left it off, 
of late years, since he has risen into place, and shakes his head 
rebukingly when it is mentioned. 

It is certain that the old lady will, to this day, dwell on the 
looks of the Squire when he was a young man at college ; and 
she maintains that none of his sons can compare with their 
father when he was of their age, and was dressed out in his 
full suit of scarlet, with his hair craped and powdered, and his 
three-cornered hat. 

She has an orphan niece, a pretty, soft-hearted baggage, 
named Phoebe Wiikius, who has been transplanted to the Hall 
within a year or two, and been nearly spoiled for any condition 
of life. She is a kind of attendant and companion of the fair 
Julia's ; and from loitering about the young lady's apartments, 
reading scraps of novels, and inheriting second-hand finery, has 
become something between a waiting-maid and a slipshod fine 
lady. 

She is considered a kind of heiress among the servants, as 
she will inherit all her aunt's property ; which, if report be true, 
must be a round sum of good golden guineas, the accumulated 
wealth of two housekeepers' savings ; not to mention the heredi- 
tary wardrobe, and the many little valuables and knick-knacks, 
treasured up in the housekeepers' room. Indeed, the old 
housekeeper has the reputation, among the servants and the 



18 BRACEBRTDGE HALL. 

villagers, of being passing rich ; and there is a japanned chest 
of drawers, and a large iron-bound coffer in her room, which are 
supposed, by the housemaids, to hold treasures of wealth. 
The old lady is a great Mend of Master Simon, who, indeed, 
pays a little court to her, as to a person high in authority ; and 
they have many discussions on points of family history, in 
which, notwithstanding his extensive information, and pride of 
knowledge, he commonly admits her superior accuracy. He 
seldom returns to the Hall, after one of his visits to the other 
branches of the family, without bringing Mrs. Wilkins some 
remembrance from the ladies of the house where he has been 
staying. 

Indeed, all the children of the house look up to the old lady 
with habitual respect and attachment, and she seems almost to 
consider them as her own, from their having grown up under 
her eye. The Oxonian, however, is her favorite, probably from 
being the youngest, though he is the most mischievous, and has 
been apt to play tricks upon her from boyhood. 

I cannot help mentioning one little ceremony, which, I be- 
lieve, is peculiar to the Hall. After the cloth is removed at 
dinner, the old housekeeper sails into the room and stands be- 
hind the Squire's chair, when he fills her a glass of wine with 
his own hands, in which she drinks the health of the company 
in a truly respectful yet dignified manner, and then retires. 
The Squire received the custom from his father, and has always 
continued it. 

There is a peculiar character about the servants of old Eng- 
lish families that reside principally in the country. They have 
a quiet, orderly, respectful mode of doing their duties. They 
are always neat in their persons, and appropriately, and if I 
may use the phrase, technically dressed ; they move about the 
house without hurry or noise ; there is nothing of the bustle of 
employment, or the voice of command ; nothing of that obtrusive 
housewifery that amounts to a torment. You are not perse- 
cuted by the process of making you comfortable ; yet every 
thing is done, and is done well. The work of the house is per- 
formed as if by magic, but it is the magic of system. Nothing 
is done by fits and starts, nor at awkward seasons ; the whole 
goes on like well-oiled clock-work, where there is no noise nor 
jarring in its operations. 

English servants, in general, are not treated with great in* 
dulgence, nor rewarded by many commendations ; for the Eng- 
lish are laconic and reserved toward their domestics ; but an 
approving nod and a kind word from master or mistress, goes 



FAMILY SERVANTS. 19 

as far here, as an excess of praise or indulgence elsewhere* 
Neither do servants often exhibit any animated marks of affec- 
tion to their employers ; yet, though quiet, they are strong in 
their attachments; and the reciprocal regard of masters and 
bervants, though not ardently expressed, is powerful and last- 
ing in old English families. 

The title of u an old family servant " carries with it a thou- 
sand kind associations, in all parts of the world ; and there is 
no claim upon the home-bred charities of the heart more irre- 
sistible than that of having been " born in the house. 1 * It is 
common to see gray-headed domestics of this kind attached 
to an English family of the " old school," who continue in it to 
the day of their death, in the enjoyment of steady, unaffected 
kindness, and the performance of faithful, unofficious duty. I 
think such instances of attachment speak well for both master 
and servant, and the frequency of them speaks well for national 
character. 

These observations, however, hold good only with families of 
the description I have mentioned ; and with such as are some- 
what retired, and pass the greater part of their time in the 
country. As to the powdered menials that throng the halls of 
fashionable town residences, they equally reflect the character 
of the establishments to which they belong ; and I know no 
more complete epitomes of dissolute heartlessness and pam- 
pered inutility. 

But, the good "old family servant!" the one who has 
always been linked, in idea, with the home of our heart ; who 
has led us to school in the days of prattling childhood ; who has 
been the confidant of our boyish cares, and schemes, and enter- 
prises ; who has hailed us as we came home at vacations, and 
been the promoter of all our holiday sports ; who, when we, in 
wandering manhood, have left the paternal roof, and only return 
thither at intervals will welcome us with a joy inferior only to 
that of our parents ; who, now grown gray and infirm with age, 
still totters about the house of our fathers, in fond and faithful 
servitude ; who claims us, in a manner, as his own ; and hastens 
with querulous eagerness to anticipate his fellow-domestics in 
waiting upon us at table ; and who, when we retire at night to 
the chamber that still goes by our name, will linger about the 
room to have one more kind look, and one more pleasant word 
about times that are past who does not experience towards 
such a being a feeling of almost filial affection ? 

I have met with several instances of epitaphs on the grave- 
tones of such valuable domestics, recorded with the simple truth 



BXACEBtttDGti If ALL. 

of natural feeling. I have two before me at this moment ; one 
Copied from a tombstone of a church-yard in Warwickshire : 

44 Here lieth the body of Joseph Batte, confidential servant 
to George Birch, Esq., of Hamstead Hall. His grateful friend 
and master caused this inscription to be written in memory of 
his discretion, fidelity, diligence, and continence. He died (a 
bachelor) aged 84, having lived 44 years in the same family." 

The other was taken from a tombstone in Eltham church-yard : 

u Here lie the remains of Mr. James Tappy, who departed 
this life on the 8th of September, 1818, aged 84, after a faithful 
service of 60 years in one family ; by each individual of which 
he lived respected, and died lamented by the sole survivor." 

Few monuments, even of the illustrious, have given me the 
glow about the heart that I felt while copying this honest epi- 
taph in the churchyard of Eltham. I sympathized with this 
44 sole survivor " of a family mourning over the grave of the 
faithful follower of his race, who had been, no doubt, a living 
memento of times and friends that had passed away ; and in 
considering this record of long and devoted service, I called to 
mind the touching speech of Old Adam, in 44 As You Like It," 
when tottering after the youthful son of his ancient master : 

"Master, go on, and I will follow thee 
To the last gasp, with love and loyalty ! " 

NOTE. I cannot but mention a tablet which I have seen somewhere in the chapel 
of Windsor Castle, put up by the late king to the memory of a family servant, who had 
been a faithful attendant of his lamented daughter, the Princess Amelia. George HI. 
possessed much of the strong domestic feeling of the old English country gentleman ; 
and it is an incident curious in monumental history, and creditable to the human heart, 
a monarch erecting a monument in honor of the humble virtues of a menial. 



THE WIDOW. 

She was BO charitable and pitiout 

She would weep if that she saw a mous 

Caught in a trap, if it were dead or bled : 

Of small hounds had she, that she fed 

With rost flesh, milke, and wastel bread, 

But sore wept sjie if any of them were dead, 

Or if man smote them with a yard smart. CHAUCEB. 



NOTWITHSTANDING the whimsical parade made by Lady Lilly- 
oraft on her arrival, she has none of the petty stateliness that I 
had imagined ; but, on the contrary, she has * degree of nature 



THE WIDOW. 

find simple-heartedness, if I may use the phrase, that mingles 
well with her old-fashioned manners and harmless ostentation. 
She dresses in rich silks, with long waist ; she rouges consider- 
ably, and her hair, which is nearly white, is frizzed out, and 
put up with pins. Her face is pitted with the small-pox, but 
the delicacy of her features shows that she may once have been 
beautiful ; and she has a very fair and well-shaped hand and 
arm, of which, if I mistake not, the good lady is still a little vain. 

I have had the- curiosity to gather a few particulars concern- 
ing her. She was a great belle in town, between thirty and 
forty years since, and reigned for two seasons with all the inso- 
lence of beauty, refusing several excellent offers ; when, un- 
fortunately, she was robbed of her charms and her lovers by 
an attack of the small-pox. She retired immediately into the 
country, where she sometime after inherited an estate, and 
married a baronet, a former admirer, whose passion had sud- 
denly revived ; " having," as he said, " always loved her mind 
rather than her person." 

The baronet did not enjoy her mind and fortune above six 
months, and had scarcely grown very tired of her, when he 
broke his neck in a fox-chase, and left her free, rich, and dis- 
consolate. She has remained on her estate in the country ever 
since, and has never shown any desire to return to town, and 
revisit the scene of her early triumphs and fatal malady. All 
her favorite recollections, however, revert to that short period 
of her youthful beauty. She has no idea of town but as it was 
at that time ; and continually forgets that the place and people 
must have changed materially in the course of nearly half a 
century. She will often speak of the toasts of those days as if 
still reigning ; and, until very recently, used to talk with delight 
of the ro t yal family, and the beauty of the young princes and 
princesses. She cannot be brought to think of the present king 
otherwise than as an elegant young man, rather wild, but who 
danced a minuet divinely ; and before he came to the crown, 
would often mention him as the " sweet young prince." 

She talks also of the walks in Kensington Garden, where the 
gentlemen appeared in gold-laced coats, and cocked hats, and 
the ladies in hoops, and swept so proudly along the grassy 
avenues ; and she thinks the ladies let themselves sadly down 
in their dignity, when they gave up cushioned head-dresses, 
and high-heeled shoes. She has much to say too of the officers 
who were in the train of her admirers ; and speaks familiarly 
of many wild young blades, that are now, perhaps, hobbling 
about watering-places with crutches and gouty shoes. 



BRAVEBRIDGE HALL. 

; Whether the taste the good lady had of matrimony discour- 
aged her or not, I cannot say ; but though her merits and her 
riches have attracted many suitors, she has never been tempted 
to venture again into the happy state. This is singular, too, 
for she seems of a most soft and susceptible heart ; is always 
talking of love and connubial felicity, and is a great stickler for 
old-fashioned gallantry, devoted attentions, and eternal con- 
stancy, on the part of the gentlemen. She lives, however, after 
her own taste. Her house, I am told, must have been built and 
furnished about the time of Sir Charles Grandison : every thing 
about it is somewhat formal and stately ; but has been softened 
down into a degree of voluptuousness, characteristic of an old 
lady, very tender-hearted and romantic, and that loves her 
ease. The cushions of the great arm-chairs, and wide sofas, 
almost bury you when you sit down on them. Flowers of the 
most rare and delicate kind are placed about the rooms, and on 
little japanned stands ; and sweet bags lie about the tables and 
mantel-pieces. The house is full of pet dogs, Angora cats, and 
singing birds, who are as carefully waited upon as she is her- 
self. 

She }s dainty in her living, and a little of an epicure, living 
on white meats, and little lady-like dishes, though her servants 
have substantial old English fare, as their looks bear witness. 
Indeed, they are so indulged, that they are all spoiled ; and 
when thej' lose their present place, they will be fit for no other. 
Her ladyship is one of those easy-tempered beings that are 
always doomed to be much liked, but ill served by their domes- 
tics, and cheated by all the world. 

Much of her time is passed in reading novels, of which she 
has a most extensive library, and has a constant supply from 
the publishers in town. Her erudition iu this line of literature 
is immense ; she has kept pace with the press for half a cen- 
tury. Her mind is stuffed with love-tales of all kinds, from the 
stately amours of the old books of chivalry, down to the last 
blue-covered romance, reeking from the press ; though she evi- 
dently gives the preference to those that came out in the days 
of her youth, and when she was first in love. She maintains 
that there are no novels written now-a-days equal to Pamela 
and Sir Charles Grandisou ; and she places the Castle of 
Otranto at the head of all romances. 

She does a vast deal of good in her neighborhood, and is 
imposed upon by every beggar in the county. She is the bene- 
factress of a village adjoining to her estate, and takes an especial 
interest in all its love-affairs. She knows of every courtship 



TEE Lorsns. 28 



that is going on ; every lovelorn damsel is sure to find a patient 
listener and a sage adviser in her ladyship. She takes great 
pains to reconcile all love-quarrels, and should any faithless 
swain persist in his inconstancy, he is sure to draw on himself 
the good lady's violent indignation. 

I have learned these particulars partly from Frank Brace- 
bridge, and partly from Master Simon. 1 am now able to 
account for the assiduous attention of the latter to her lady- 
ship. Her house is one of his favorite resorts, where he is a 
very important personage. He makes her a visit of business 
once a year, when he looks into all her affairs ; which, as she is 
no manager, are apt to get into confusion. He examines the 
books of the overseer, and shoots about the estate, which, he 
says, is well stocked with game, notwithstanding that it is 
poached by all the vagabonds in the neighborhood. 

It is thought, as I before hinted, that the captain will inherit 
the greater part of her property, having always been her chief 
favorite ; for, in fact, she is partial to a red coat. She has now 
come to the Hall to be present at his nuptials, having a great 
disposition to interest herself in all matters of love and matri- 
mony. 



THE LOVERS. 

Rise up, my love, ray fair one, and come away; for, lo, the winter is past, the rain 
is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the Hinging of birds is 
come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the laud. BONO OF SOLOMON. 

To a man who is a little of a philosopher, and a bachelor to 
boot ; and who, by dint of some experience in the follies of life, 
begins to look with a learned eye upon the ways of man, and 
eke of woman ; to such a man, I say, there is something very 
entertaining in noticing the conduct of a pair of young lovers. 
It may not be as grave and scientific a stud}' as the loves of 
the plants, but it is certainly as interesting. 

I have, therefore, derived much pleasure, since my arrival at 
the Hall, from observing the fair Julia and her lover. She 
has all the delightful, blushing consciousness of an artless girl, 
inexperienced in coquetry, who has made her first conquest; 
while the captain regards her with that mixture of fondness and 
exultation with which a youthful lover is apt to contemplate so 
beauteous a prize. 

I observed them yesterday in the garden, advancing along 



>*- BBACEBBI&GB HALL. 

of the retired walks. The sun was shining with delicious 
warmth, making great masses of bright verdure, and deep blue 
shade. The cuckoo, that "harbinger of spring/* was faintly 
heard from a distance ; the thrush piped from the hawthorn ; 
and the yellow butterflies sported, and toyed, and coquetted in 
the air. 

The fair Julia was leaning on her lover's arm, listening to 
his conversation, with her eyes cast down, a soft blush on her 
cheek, and a quiet smile on her lips, while in the hand that 
hang negligently by her side was a bunch of flowers. Jn this 
way they were sauntering slowly along ; und when I considered 
them and the scene in which they were moving, I could not but 
think it a thousand pities that the season should ever change, 
or that young people should ever grow older, or that blossoms 
should give way to fruit, or that lovers should ever get married. 

From what I have gathered of family anecdote, 1 understand 
that the fair Julia is the daughter of a favorite college friend 
of the Squire ; who, after leaving Oxford, had entered the 
arm}*, and served for many years in India, where he was mor- 
tally wounded in a skirmish with the natives. In his last mo- 
ments he had, with a faltering pen, recommended his wife and 
daughter to the kindness of his early friend. 

The widow and her child returned to England helpless and 
almost hopeless. When Mr. Bracebridge received accounts of 
their situation, he hastened to their relief. He reached them 
just in time to sooth the last moments of the mother, who was 
dying of a consumption, and to make her happy in the assur- 
ance that her child should never want a protector. 

The good Squire returned with his prattling charge to his 
stronghold, where he had brought her up with a tenderness 
truly paternal. As he has taken some pains to superintend her 
education, and form her taste, she has grown up with many of 
his notions, and considers him the wisest, as well as the best of 
men. Much of her time, too, has been passed with Lady Lilly- 
craft, who has instructed her in the manners of the old school, 
and enriched her mind with all kinds of novels and romances. 
Indeed, her ladyship has had a great hand in promoting the 
match between Julia and the captain, having had them together 
at her country-seat, the moment she found there was an attach- 
ment growing up between them ; the good lady being never so 
happy as when she has a pair of turtles cooing about her. 

I have been pleased to see the fondness with which the fair 
Julia is regarded by the old servants at the Hall. She has beea 
a pet with them from childhood, and every one seems to Jay 



THE LOVERS. 25 

some claim to her education ; so that it is no wonder that she 
should be extremety accomplished. The gardener taught her to 
rear flowers, of which she is extremely fond. Old Christy, the 
pragmatical huntsman, softens when she approaches; and as 
she sits lightly and gracefully in her saddle, claims the merit of 
having taught her to ride ; while the housekeeper, who almost 
looks upon her as a daughter, intimates that she first gave her 
an insight into the mysteries of the toilet, having been dressing- 
maid, in her young days, to the late Mrs. Bracebridge. I am 
inclined to credit this last claim, as I have noticed that the dress 
of the young lady had an air of the old school, though managed 
with native taste, and that her hair was put up very much in 
the style of Sir Peter Lely's portraits in the picture gallery. 

Her very musical attainments partake of this old-fashioned 
character, and most of her songs are such as are not at the 
present day to be found on the piano of a modern performer. 
1 have, however, seen so much of modern fashions, modern ac- 
complishments, and modern fine ladies, that I relish this tinge 
of antiquated style in so young and lovely a girl ; and I have 
had as much pleasure in hearing her warble one of the old songs 
of Herrick, or Carew, or Suckling, adapted to some simple old 
melody, as 1 have had from listening to a lady amateur sky- 
lark it up and down through the finest bravura of Rossini or 
Mozart. 

We have very pretty music in the evenings, occasionally, 
between her and the captain, assisted sometimes by Master 
Simon, who scrapes, dubiously, on his violin ; being very apt 
to get out, and to halt a note or two in the rear. Sometimes 
he even thrums a little on the piano, and takes a part in a trio, 
in which his voice can generally be distinguished by a certain 
quavering tone, and an occasional false note. 

I was praising the fair Julia's performance to him, after one 
of her songs, when I found lie took to himself the whole credit 
of having formed her musical taste, assuring me that she was 
very apt ; and, indeed, summing up her whole character in his 
knowing way, by adding, that u she was a very nice girl, and 
had no nonsense about her." 



Si BRACEBEIDGE HALL. 



FAMILY RELIQUES. 

My Infelice's face, her brow, her eye, 

The dimple on her cheek : and such sweet skill 

Hath from the cunning workman's pencil flown, 

These lips took fresh and lively as her own. 

False colors last after the true be dead. 

Of all the rose* grafted on her cheeks, 

Of all the graces dancing in her eyes, 

Of all the music set upon her tongue, 

Of all that was past woman's excellence 

In her white bosom ; look, a paluted board 

Circumscribes all ! DEKKER. 

AN old English family mansion is a fertile subject for study. 
It abounds with illustrations of former times, and traces of the 
tastes, and humors, and manners of successive generations. 
The alterations and additions, in different styles of architecture ; 
the furniture, plate, pictures, hangings ; the warlike and sport- 
ing implements of different ages and fancies ; all furnish food 
for curious and amusing speculation. As the Squire is very 
careful in collecting and preserving ail family reliques, the Hall 
is full of remembrances of the kind. In looking about the es- 
tablishment, I can picture to myself the characters and habits 
that have prevailed at different eras of the family history. I 
have mentioned, on a former occasion, the armor of the cru- 
sader which hangs up in the Hall. There are also several jack- 
boots, with enormously thick soles and high heels, that belonged 
to a set of cavaliers, who filled the Hall with the din and stir of 
arms during the time of the Covenanters. A number of enor- 
mous drinking vessels of antique fashion, with huge Venice 
glasses, and green-hock-glasses, with the apostles in relief on 
them, remain as monuments of a generation or two of hard 
livers, that led a life of roaring revelry, and first introduced the 
gout into the family. 

I shall pass over several more such indications of temporary 
tastes of the Squire's predecessors ; but I cannot forbear to 
notice a pair of antlers in the great hall, which is one of the 
trophies of a hard-riding squire of former times, who was the 
Nimrod of these parts. There are many traditions of his won- 
derful feats in hunting still existing, which are related by old 
Christy, the huntsman, who gets exceedingly nettled if they 
are in the least doubted. Indeed, there is a frightful chasm, 
a few miles from the Hall, which goes by the name of the 



FAMILY RELIQUB8. 27 

Squire's Leap, from his having cleared it in the ardor of the 
chase ; there can be no doubt of the fact, for old Christy shows 
the very dints of the horse's hoofs on the rocks on each side 
of the chasm. 

Master Simon holds the memory of this squire in great ven- 
eration, and has a number of extraordinaiy stories to tell con- 
cerning him, which he repeats at all hunting dinners ; and I am 
told that they wax more and more marvellous the older they 
grow. He has also a pair of Rippon spurs which belonged to 
this mighty hunter of yore, and which he only wears on par- 
ticular occasions. 

The place, however, which abounds most with mementos of 
past times, is the picture gallery ; and there is something 
strangely pleasing, though melancholy, in considering the long 
rows of portraits which compose the greater part of the collec- 
tion. They furnish a kind of narrative of the lives of the 
family worthies, which J am enabled to read with the assistance 
of the venerable housekeeper, who is the family chronicler, 
prompted occasionally by Master Simon. There is the progress 
of a fine lady, for instance, through a variety of portraits. One 
represents her as a little girl, with a long waist and hoop, hold- 
ing a kitten in her arms, and ogling the spectator out of the 
corners of her eyes, as if she could not turn her head. In an- 
other, we find her in the freshness of youthful beauty, when she 
was a celebrated belle, and so hard-hearted as to cause several 
unfortunate gentlemen to run desperate and write bad poetry. 
In another, she is depicted as a stately dame, in the maturity 
of her charms ; next to the portrait of her husband, a gallant 
colonel in full-bottomed wig and gold-laced hat, who was killed 
abroad ; and, finally, her monument is in the church, the spire 
of which may be seen from the window, where her effigy is 
carved in marble, and represents her as a venerable dame of 
seventy-six. 

In like manner, I have followed some of the family great 
men through a series of pictures, from early boyhood to the 
robe of dignity, or truncheon of command ; and so on by de- 
grees, until they were garnered up in the common repository, 
the neighboring church. 

There is one group that particularly interested me. It con- 
sisted of four sisters, of nearly the same age, who flourished 
about a century since, and, if I may judge from their portraits, 
were extremely beautiful. I can imagine what a scene of gay- 
ety and romance this old mansion must have been, when they 
were in the heyday of their charms; when they passed like 



BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

beautiful visions through its halls, or stepped daintily to music 
in the revels and dances of the cedar gallery ; or printed, with 
delicate feet, the velvet verdure of these lawns. How must 
they have been looked up to with mingled love, and pride, and 
reverence by the old family servants ; and followed with almost 
painful admiration by the aching eyes of rival admirers ! How 
must melody, and song, and tender serenade, have breathed 
about these courts, and their echoes whispered to the loitering 
tread of lovers ! How must these very turrets have made the 
hearts of the young galliarcls thrill, as they first discerned them 
from afar, rising from among the trees, and pictured to them- 
selves the beauties caskctcd like gems within these walls ! In- 
deed, I have discovered about the place several faint records 
of this reign of love and romance, when the Hall was a kind 
of Court of Beauty. 

Several of the old romances in the library have marginal 
notes expressing sympathy and approbation, where there are 
long speeches extolling ladies' charms, or protesting eternal 
fidelity, or bewailing the cruelty of some tyrannical fair one. 
The interviews, and declarations, and parting scenes of tender 
lovers, also bear the marks of having been frequently read, 
and are scored and marked with notes of admiration, and have 
initials written on the margins ; most of which annotations 
have the day of the month and year annexed to them. Several 
of the windows, too, have scraps of poetry engraved on them 
with diamonds, taken from the writings of the fair Mrs. Philips, 
the once celebrated Grind a. Some of these seem to have been 
inscribed by lovers ; and others, in a delicate and unsteady 
hand, and a little inaccurate in the spelling, have evidently been 
written by the young ladies themselves, or by female friends, 
who have been on visits to the Hall. Mrs. Philips seems to 
have been their favorite author, and they have distributed the 
names of her heroes and heroines among their circle of inti- 
macy. Sometimes, in a male hand, the verse bewails the cru- 
elty of beauty, and the sufferings of constant love ; while in a 
female hand it prudishly confines itself to lamenting the parting 
of female friend^. The bow-window of my bedroom, which 
has, doubtless, been inhabited by one of these beauties, has 
several of these inscriptions. I have one at this moment before 
my eyes, called u Camilla parting with Leonora: " 

* How perlfth'd 10 the joy that's past, 

The present how unsteady ! 
What comfort can IMS great and last* 
Whea thia i* gone already ?" 



FAMILY RELIQUE8.+ 29 

And close by it is another, written, perhaps, by some adven- 
turous lover, who had stolen into the lady's chamber during 
her absence : 

"THEODOSIUS TO CAMILLA. 

I'd rather in your favor live, 

Than in a lasting name; 
And much a greater rate would give 

For happiness than fame. 

THEODOSIUS. 1700." 

When I look at these faint records of gallantry and tender- 
mess ; when I contemplate the fading portraits of these beauti- 
ful girls, and think, too, that they have long since bloomed, 
reigned, grown old, died, and passed away, and with them all 
their graces, their triumphs, their rivalries, their admirers ; the 
whole empire of love and pleasure in which they ruled u all 
dead, all buried, all forgotten," I find a cloud of melancholy 
stealing over the present gayeties around me. I was gazing, 
in a musing mood, this very morning, at the portrait of the 
lady whose husband was killed abroad, when the fair Julia 
entered the gallery, leaning on the arm of the captain. The 
sun shone through the row of windows on her as she passed 
along, and she seemed to beam out each time into brightness, 
and relapse into shade, until the door at the bottom of the gal- 
lery closed after her. I felt a sadness of heart at the idea, that 
this was an emblem of her lot : a few more years of sunshine 
and shade, and all this life and loveliness, and enjoyment, will 
have ceased, and nothing be left to commemorate this beautiful 
being but one more perishable portrait ; to awaken, perhaps, 
the trite speculations of some future loiterer, like myself, when 
I and my scribblings shall have lived through our brief existence, 
and been forgotten. 



AN OLD SOLDIER. 

I've worn some leather out abroad ; let out a heathen soul or two; fed this good sword 
with the black blood of pagan Christians; converted a few infidels with it. But let that 
pass. The Ordinary. 

THE Hall was thrown into some little agitation, a few days 
since, by the arrival of General Harbottle. He had been 
expected for several days, and had been looked for, rather 
impatiently, by several of the family. Master Simon assured 
me that I would like the general hugely, for he was a blade of 



30 BRACEBEIDOE HALL. 

the old school, and an excellent table companion. Lady Lilly- 
craft, also, appeared to be somewhat fluttered, on the mom ing 
of the general's arrival, for he had been one of her early ad- 
mirers ; and she recollected him only as a dashing young ensign, 
just come upon the town. She actually spent an hour longer 
at her toilet, and made her appearance with her hair uncom- 
monly frizzled and powdered, and an additional quantity of 
rouge. She was evidently a little surprised and shocked, there- 
fore, at finding the lithe, dashing ensign transformed into a 
corpulent old general, with a double chin ; though it was a per- 
fect picture to witness their salutations ; the graciousness of 
her profound courtesy, and the air of the old school with which 
the general took off his hat, swayed it gently in his hand, and 
bowed his powdered head. 

All this bustle and anticipation has caused me to study the 
general with a little more attention than, perhaps, I should 
otherwise have done ; and the few days that he has already 
passed at the Hail have enabled me, I think, to furnish a toler- 
able likeness of him to the reader. 

He is, as Master Simon observed, a soldier of the old school, 
with powdered head, side locks, and pigtail. His face is shaped 
like the stern of a Dutch man-of-war, narrow at top and wide 
at bottom, with full rosy cheeks and a double chin ; so that, to 
use the cant of the clay, his organs of eating may be said to be 
powerfully developed. 

The general, though a veteran, has seen very little active 
service, except the taking of Seringapatam, which forms an 
era in his history. He wears a large emerald in his bosom, and 
a diamond on his finger, which he got on that occasion, and 
whoever is unlucky enough to notice either, is sure to involve 
himself in the whole history of the siege. To judge from the 
general's conversation, the taking of Seringapatam is the most 
important affair that has occurred for the last century. 

On the approach of warlike times on the continent, he was 
rapidly promoted to get him out of the way of younger officers 
of merit ; until, having been hoisted to the rank of general, he 
was quietly laid on the shelf. Since that time, his campaigns 
have been principally confined to watering-places ; where he 
drinks the waters for a slight touch of the liver which he got in 
Iivdia ; and plays whist with old dowagers, with whom he has 
flirted in his younger days. Indeed, he talks of all the fine 
women of the last half century, and, according to hints which 
he now and then drops, has enjoyed the particular smiles of 
many of them. 



AN OLD SOLDIER. 81 



He has seen considerable garrison duty, and can speak of 
almost every place famous for good quarters, and where the 
inhabitants give good dinners. He is a diner out of first-rate 
currency, when in town ; being invited to one place, because he 
has been seen at another. In the same way he is invited about 
the country-seats, and can describe half the seats in the king- 
dom, from actual observation ; nor is any one better versed in 
court gossip, and the pedigrees and intermarriages of the 
nobility. 

As the general is an old bachelor, and an old beau, and there 
are several ladies at the Hail, especially his quondam flame 
Lady Jocelyne, he is put rather upon his gallantry. He com- 
monly passes some time, therefore, at his toilet, and takes 
the field at a late hour every morning, with his hair dressed out 
and powdered, and a rose in his button-hole. After he has 
breakfasted, he walks up and down the terrace in the sunshine, 
humming an air, and hemming between every stave, carrying 
one hand behind his back, and with the other touching his cane 
to the ground, and then raising it up to his shoulder. Should 
he, in these morning promenades, meet any of the elder ladies 
of the family, as he frequently does Lady Lillycraft, his hat is 
immediately in his hand, and it is enough to remind one of 
those courtly groups of ladies and gentlemen, in old prints of 
Windsor terrace, or Kensington garden. 

He talks frequently about " the service, " and is fond of hum- 
ming the old song, 

Why, soldiers, why, 

Should we be melancholy, boys ? 

Why, soldiers, why, 

Whose business 't is to die! 

I cannot discover, however, that the general has ever run any 
great risk of dying, excepting from an apoplexy or an indiges- 
tion. He criticises all the battles on the continent, and discusses 
the merits of the commanders, but never fails to bring the 
conversation, ultimately, to Tippoo Saib and Seringapatam. I 
am told that the general was a perfect champion at drawing- 
rooms, parades, and watering-places, during the late war, and 
was looked to with hope and confidence by many an old lady, 
when laboring under the terror of Buonaparte's invasion. 

He is thoroughly loyal, and attends punctually on levees 
when in town. He has treasured up many remarkable sayings 
of the late king, particularly one which the king made to him 
on a field-day, complimenting him on the excellence of his 



82 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 



horse* He extols the whole royal family, but especially the 
present king, whom he pronounces the most perfect gentleman 
and best whist-player in Europe. The general swears rather 
more than is the fashion of the present day ; but it was the 
mode in the old school. He is, however, very strict in religious 
matters, and a stanch churchman. He repeats the responses 
very loudly in church, and is emphatical in praying for the 
king and royal family. 

At table, his loyalty waxes very fervent with his second bot- 
tle, and the song of u God save the King" puts him into a 
perfect ecstasy. He is amazingly well contented with the 
present state of things, and apt to get a little impatient at any 
talk about national ruin and agricultural distress. He says he 
has travelled about the country as much as any man, and has 
met with nothing but prosperity ; and to confess the truth, a 
great part of his time is spent in visiting from one country-seat 
to another, and riding about the parks of his friends. " They 
talk of public distress," said the general this day to me, at 
dinner, as he smacked a glass of rich burgundy, and cast his 
e t yes about the ample board ; " they talk of public distress, but 
where do we find it, sir? I see none. I see no reason why any 
one has to complain. Take my word for it, sir, this talk about 
public distress is all humbug ! " 



THE WIDOW'S RETINUE. 

Little dogs and all ! Lear. 

IN giving an account of the arrival of Lady Ljllycraft at the 
Hall, I ought to have mentioned the entertainment which I 
derived from witnessing the unpacking of her carriage, and the 
disposing of her retinue. There is something extremely amus- 
ing to me in the number of factitious wants, the loads of 
imaginary conveniences, but real encumbrances, with which 
the luxurious are apt to burthen themselves. I like to watch 
the whimsical stir and display about one of these petty prog- 
resses. The number of robustious footmen and retainers of 
all kinds bustling about, with looks of infinite gravity and im- 
portance, to do almost nothing. The number of heavy trunks, 
and parcels, and bandboxes belonging to my lady ; and the 
solicitude exhibited about some humble, odd-looking box, by 



THE WIDOW 9 8 RETINUE. 

my lady's maid ; the cushions piled in the carriage to make a 
soft seat still softer, and to prevent the dreaded possibility of 
a jolt ; the smelling-bottles, the cordials, the baskets of biscuit 
and fruit ; the new publications ; all provided to guard against 
hunger, fatigue, or ennui ; the lead horses, to vary the mode of 
travelling ; and all this preparation and parade to move, per- 
haps, some very good-for-nothing personage about a little space 
of earth ! 

I do not mean to apply the latter part of these observa- 
tions to Lady Liilycraft, for whose simple kind-heartedness I 
have a very great respect, and who is really a most amiable and 
worthy being. I cannot refrain, however, from mentioning 
some of the motley retinue she has brought with her; and 
which, indeed, bespeak the overflowing kindness of her nature, 
which requires her to be surrounded with objects on which to 
lavish it. 

In the first place, her ladyship has a pampered coachman, 
with a red face, and cheeks that hang down like dew-laps. He 
evidently domineers over her a little with respect to the fat 
horses ; and only drives out when he thinks proper, and when 
he thinks it will be " good for the cattle. " 

She has a favorite page, to attend upon her person ; a hand- 
some boy of about twelve years of age, but a mischievous var- 
let, very much spoiled, and in a fair way to be good for nothing. 
He is dressed in green, with a profusion of gold cord and gilt 
buttons about his clothes. She always has one or two attend- 
ants of the kind, who are replaced by others as soon as they 
grow to fourteen years of age. She has brought two dogs with 
her, also, out of a number of pets which she maintains at home. 
One is a fat spaniel, called Zephyr though heaven defend me 
from such a zephyr ! He is fed out of all shape and comfort ; 
his eyes are nearly strained out of his head ; he wheezes with 
corpulenc} r , and cannot walk without great difficulty. The 
other is a little, old, gray-muzzled curmudgeon, with an un- 
happy eye, that kindles like a coal if yon only look at him ; his 
nose turns up ; his mouth is drawn into wrinkles, so as to show 
his teeth ; in short, he has altogether the look of a dog far gone 
in misanthropy, and totally sick of the world. When he walks, 
he has his tail curled up so tight that it seems to lift his feet 
from the ground ; and he seldom makes use of more than three 
legs at a time, keeping the other drawn up as a reserve. This 
last wretch is called Beauty. 

These dogs are full of elegant ailments, unknown to vulgar 
dogs : and are petted and nursed by Lady Liilycraft with tUe 



84 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

i 

tenderest kindness. They are pampered and fed with delica- 
cies by their fellow-minion, the page ; but their stomachs are 
often weak and out of order, so that they cannot eat ; though I 
have now and then seen the page give them a mischievous 
pinch, or thwack over the head, when his mistress was not by. 
They have cushions for their express use, on which they lie 
before the fire, and yet are apt to shiver and moan if there is 
the least draught of air. When any one enters the room, they 
make a most tyrannical barking that is absolutely deafening. 
They are insolent to all the other dogs of the establishment. 
There is a noble stag-hound, a great favorite of the Squire's, 
who is a privileged visitor to the parlor ; but the moment he 
makes his appearance, these intruders fly at him with furious 
rage ; and I have admired the sovereign indifference and con- 
tempt with which he seems to look down upon his puny assail- 
ants. When her ladyship drives out, these dogs are generally 
carried with her to take the air ; when they look out of each 
window of the carriage, and bark at all vulgar pedestrian dogs. 
These dogs are a continual source of misery to the household : 
as they are always in the wa}', they every now and then get 
their toes trod on, and then there is a yelping on their part, and 
a loud lamentation on the part of their mistress, that fills the 
room with clamor and confusion. 

Lastly, there is her ladyship's waiting-gentlewoman, Mrs. 
Hannah, a prim, pragmatical old maid ; one of the most intol- 
erable and intolerant virgins that ever lived. She has kept her 
virtue by her until it has turned sour, and now every word and 
look smacks of verjuice. She is the very opposite to her 
mistress, for one hates, and the other loves, all mankind. How 
the}' first came together I cannot imagine ; but they have lived 
together for many years ; and the abigail's temper being tart and 
encroaching, and her ladyship's easy and yielding, the former 
has got the complete upper hand, and tyrannizes over the good 
lady in secret. 

Lady Lillycraft now and then complains of it, in great con- 
fidence, to her friends, but hushes up the subject immediately, 
if Mrs. Hannah makes her appearance. Indeed, she has been 
BO accustomed to be attended by her, that she thinks she could 
not do without her ; though one great stud}' of her life, is to 
keep Mrs. Hannah in good-humor, by little presents and kind- 
nesses. 

Master Simon has a most devout abhorrence, mingled with 
awe, for this ancient spinster. He told me the other day, in a 
whisper, that she was a cursed brimstone in fact, he added 



READY-MONEY JACK. 86 

another epithet, which I would not repeat for the world. I 
have remarked, however, that he is always extremely civil to 
her when they meet. 



READY-MONEY JACK. 

My purse, It is my privy wyfe, 

This song I dare both syng and say, 

It keepeth men from grievous stryfe 

Vhen every man for himself shall pay. 

As I ryde in ryche array 

For gold and silver men wyll mefloryshe; 

But thys matter I dare well saye, 

Every gramercy myne own purse. Book of Hunting. 

ON the skirts of the neighboring village, there lives a kind 
of small potentate, who, for aught I know, is a representative 
of one of the most ancient legitimate lines of the present day ; 
for the empire over which he reigns has belonged to his family 
time out of mind. His territories comprise a considerable 
number of good fat acres ; and his seat of power is in an old 
farm-house, where he enjoys, unmolested, the stout oaken chair 
of his ancestors. The personage to whom I allude is a sturdy 
old 3 r eoman of the name of John Tibbets, or rather, Ready- 
Money Jack Tibbets, as he is called throughout the neighbor- 
hood. 

The first place where he attracted my attention was in the 
church-yard on Sunday ; where he sat on a tombstone after the 
service, with his hat a little on one side, holding forth to a small 
circle of auditors ; and, as I presumed, expounding the law and 
the prophets ; until, on drawing a little nearer, I found he was 
only expatiating on the merits of a brown horse. He presented 
so faithful a picture of a substantial English yeoman, such as 
he is often described in books, heightened, indeed, by some 
little finery peculiar to himself, that 1 could not but take note 
of his whole appearance. 

He was between fifty and sixty, of a strong, muscular frame, 
and at least six feet high, with a physiognomy as grave as a 
lion's, and set off with short, curling, iron-gray locks. His 
shirt-collar was turned clown, and displayed a neck covered 
with the same short, curling, gray hair ; and he wore a colored 
silk neckcloth, tied very loosely, and tucked in at the bosom, 
with a green paste brooch on the knot. His coat was of dark 



BXACEBRIDGE HALL, 

green cloth, with silver buttons, on each of which was engraved 
a stag, with his own name, John Tibbets, underneath. He had 
an inner waistcoat of figured chintz, between which and his coat 
was another of scarlet cloth, unbuttoned. His breeches were 
also left unbuttoned at the knees, not from any slovenliness, 
but to show a broad pair of scarlet garters. His stockings 
were blue, with white clocks ; he wore large silver shoe-buckles ; 
a broad paste buckle in his hatband ; his sleeve-buttons were 
gold seven-shilling pieces; and he had two or three guineas 
hanging as ornaments to his watch-chain. 

On making some inquiries about him, I gathered that he was 
descended from a line of farmers, that had always lived on the 
same spot, and owned the same property ; and that half of the 
church-yard was takeu up with the tombstones of his race. He 
has all his life been an important character in the place. When 
a youngster, he was one of the most roaring blades of the 
neighborhood. No one could match him at wrestling, pitching 
the bar, cudgel play, and other athletic exercises. Like the 
renowned Pinner of Wakefield, he was the village champion ; 
carried off the prize at all the fairs, and threw his gauntlet at 
the country round. Even to this day, the old people talk of his 
prowess, and undervalue, in comparison, all heroes of the green 
that have succeeded him ; nay, they say, that if Ready-Money 
Jack were to take the field even now, there is no one could 
stand before him. 

When Jack's father died, the neighbors shook their heads, 
and predicted that young hopeful would soon make way with 
the old homestead ; but Jack falsified all their predictions. The 
moment he succeeded to the paternal farm, he assumed a new 
character ; took a wife ; attended resolutely to his affairs, and 
became an industrious, thrifty farmer. With the family prop- 
erty, he inherited a set of old family maxims, to which he 
steadily adhered. He saw to every thing himself ; put his own 
hand to the plough ; worked hard ; ate heartily ; slept soundly ; 
paid for every thing in cash down ; and never danced, except 
he could do it to the music of his own money in both pockets. 
He has never been without a hundred or two pounds in gold by 
him, and never allows a debt to stand unpaid. This has gained 
him his current name, of which, by the by, he is a little proud ; 
and has caused him to be looked upon as a very wealthy man 
by all the village. 

Notwithstanding his thrift, however, he has never denied 
himself the amusements of life, but has taken a share in every 
passing pleasure, it is his maxim that " he that works hard 



READY-MONEY JACK. 87 

can afford to play." He is, therefore, an attendant at all the 
country fairs and wakes, and has signalized himself by feats of 
strength and prowess on every village green in the shire. He 
often makes his appearance at horse-races, and sports his half- 
guinea, and even his guinea at a time ; keeps a good horse for 
his own riding, and to this day is fond of following the hounds, 
and is generally in at the death. He keeps up the rustic revels, 
and hospitalities too, for which his paternal farm-house has 
always been noted ; has plenty of good cheer and dancing at 
harvest-home, and, above all, keeps the " merry night," l as it 
is termed, at Christmas. 

With all his love of amusement, however, Jack is by no 
means a boisterous, jovial companion. He is seldom known to 
laugh even in the midst of his gayety ; but maintains the same 
grave, lion-like demeanor. He is very slow at comprehending 
a joke ; and is apt to sit puzzling at it with a perplexed look, 
while the rest of the company is in a roar. This gravity has, 
perhaps, grown on him with the growing weight of his charac- 
ter; for he is gradually rising into patriarchal dignity in his 
native place. Though he no longer takes an active part in ath- 
letic sports, yet he always presides at them, and is appealed to 
on all occasions as umpire. He maintains the peace on the vil- 
lage green at holiday games, and quells all brawls and quarrels 
by collaring the parties and shaking them heartily, if refractory- 
No one ever pretends to raise a hand against him, or to contend 
against his decisions ; the young men having grown up in habit- 
ual awe of his prowess, and in implicit deference to him as the 
champion and lord of the green. 

He is a regular frequenter of the village inn, the landlady 
having been a sweetheart of his in early life, and he having 
always continued on kind terms with her. He seldom, how- 
ever, drinks any thing but a draught of ale ; smokes his pipe, 
and pays his reckoning before leaving the tap-room. Here he 
"gives his little senate laws;" decides bets, which are very 
generally referred to him ; determines upon the characters and 
qualities of horses; and, indeed, plays now and then the part 
of a judge in settling petty disputes between neighbors, which 
otherwise might have been nursed by country attornej's into 
tolerable law-suits. Jack is very candid and impartial in his 
decisions, but he has not a head to carry a long argument, and 

1 MERRY NIGHT a rustic merry-making in a farm-honse about Christmas, common 
In Home parts of Yorkshire. There is abundance of homely fare, tea, cakes, fruit, and 
ale; varintm feats of agility, arnning games, rompiug, danciug, and kissing withal. 
They commouiy break up at midnight. 



BBACEBBIDOE MALL. 

is very apt to get perplexed and out of patience if there is 
much pleading. He generally breaks through the argument 
with a strong voice, and brings matters to a summary conclu- 
sion, by pronouncing what he calls the " upshot of the busi- 
ness," or, in other words, " the long and the short of the 
matter." 

Jack once made a journey to London, a great many years 
since, which has furnished him with topics of conversation 
ever since. He saw the old king on the terrace at Windsor, 
who stopped, and pointed him out to one of the princesses, 
being probably struck with Jack's truly yeoman-like appear- 
ance. This is a favorite anecdote with him, and has no doubt 
had a great effect in making him a most loyal subject ever 
since, in spite of taxes and poors' rates. He was also at Bar- 
tholomew fair, where he had half the buttons cut off his coat ; 
and a gang of pick-pockets, attracted by his external show of 
gold and silver, made a regular attempt to hustle him as he 
was gazing at a show ; but for once they found that they had 
caught a tartar ; for Jack enacted as great wonders among the 
gang as Samson did among the Philistines. One of his neigh- 
bors, who had accompanied him to town, and was with him at 
the fair, brought back an account of his exploits, which raised 
the pride of the whole village ; who considered their champion 
as having subdued all London, and eclipsed the achievements 
of Friar Tuck, or even the renowned Robin Hood himself. 

Of late years, the old fellow has begun to take the world 
easily ; he works less, and indulges in greater leisure, his son 
having grown up, and succeeded to him both in the labors of 
the farm, and the exploits of the green. Like all sons of dis- 
tinguished men, however, his father's renown is a disadvan- 
tage to him, for he can never come up to public expectation. 
Though a fine active fellow of three-and-twenty, and quite the 
"cock of the walk," yet the old people declare he is nothing 
like what Ready-Money Jack was at his time of life. The 
youngster himself acknowledges his inferiority, and has a won- 
derful opinion of the old man, who indeed taught him ail his 
athletic accomplishments, and holds such a sway over him, that 
I am told, even to this day, he would have no hesitation to take 
htm in hands, if he rebelled against paternal government. 

The Squire holds Jack in very high esteem, and shows him 
to all his visitors, as a specimen of old English u heart of oak." 
He frequently calls at his house, and tastes some of his home- 
brewed, which is excellent. He made Jack a present of old 
Tusser's " Hundred Points of good Husbandrie," which has 



BACHELORS. 89 

famished him with reading ever since, and is his text-book 
and manual in all agricultural and domestic concerns. He has 
made dog's-ears at the most favorite passages, and knows many 
of the poetical maxims by heart. 

Tibbets, though not a man to be daunted or flattered by high 
acquaintances ; and though he cherishes a sturdy independence 
of mind and manner, yet is evidently gratified by the atten- 
tions of the Squire, whom he has known from boyhood, and 
pronounces " a true gentleman every inch of him." He is also 
on excellent terms with Master Simon, who is a kind of privy 
counsellor to the family ; but his great favorite is the Oxonian, 
whom he taught to wrestle and pla} r at quarter-staff when a 
boj~, and considers the most promising young gentleman in the 
whole country. 



BACHELORS. 

The Bachelor moat joyfully 

In pleasant plight doth page his dalea, 

Goodfellowship and companie 

He duth maintain and keep alwaies. EVEN'S Old Ballads. 

THERE is no character in the comedy of human life that is 
more difficult to play well than that of an old Bachelor. When 
a single gentleman, therefore, arrives at that critical period 
when he begins to consider it an impertinent question to be 
asked his age, I would advise him to look well to his ways. 
This period, it is true, is much later with some men than with 
others ; I have witnessed more than once the meeting of two 
wrinkled old lads of this kind, who had not seen each other for 
several years, and have been amused by the amicable exchange 
of compliments on each other's appearance, that takes place on 
such occasions. There is always one invariable observation : 
" Why, bless my soul ! you look j-ounger than when I last saw 
you!'* Whenever a man's friends begin to compliment him 
about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is 
growing old. 

I am led to make these remarks by the conduct of Master 
Simon and the general, who have become great cronies. As 
the former is the younger by many years, he is regarded as 
quite a youthful blade by the general, who moreover looks 
upon him as a man of great wit and prodigious acquirements. 
1 have already hinted that Master Simon is a family beau, and 
considered rather a young fellow by all the elderly ladies of the 



40 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

connection ; for an old bachelor, in an old family connection, is 
something like an actor in a regular dramatic corps, who seems 
to "flourish in immortal youth/' and will continue to play the 
Romeos and Rangers for half a century together. 

Master Simon, too, is a little of the chameleon, and takes a 
different hue with every different companion : he is very atten- 
tive and officious, and somewhat sentimental, with Lady Lilly- 
craft ; copies out little namby-pamby ditties and love-songs for 
her, and draws quivers, and doves, aud darts, and Cupids, to 
be worked on the corners of her pocket-handkerchiefs. He 
indulges, however, in very considerable latitude with the other 
married ladies of the family ; and has many sly pleasantries to 
whisper to them, that provoke an equivocal laugh and a tap of 
the fan. But when he gets among young company, such as 
Frank Bracebridge, the Oxonian, aud the general, he is apt to 
put on the mad wag, and to talk in a very bachelor-like strain 
about the sex. 

In this he has been encouraged by the example of the general, 
whom he looks up to as a man who has seen the world. The 
general, in fact, tells shocking stories after dinner, when the 
ladies have retired, which he gives as some of the choice things 
that are served up at the Mulligatawney club ; a knot of boon 
companions in London. He also repeats the fat jokes of old 
Major Peudergast, the wit of the club, and which, though the 
general can hardly repeat them for laughing, always make Mr. 
Bracebridge look grave, he having a great antipathy to an inde- 
cent jest. In a word, the general is a complete instance of the 
declension in gay life, by which a young man of pleasure is apt 
to cool down into an obscene old gentleman. 

J saw him and Master Simon, an evening or two since, con- 
versing with a buxom milkmaid in a meadow ; and from their 
elbowing each other now and then, and the general's shaking 
his shoulders, blowing up his cheeks, and breaking out into a 
short fit of irrepressible laughter, 1 had no doubt they were 
playing the mischief with the girl. 

As 1 looked at them through a hedge, I could not but think 
they would have made a tolerable group for a modern picture of 
of Susannah and the two elders. It is true, the girl seemed in 
nowise alarmed at the force of the enemy ; and I question, had 
either of them been alone, whether she would not have been 
more than they would have ventured to encounter. Such 
veteran roisters are daring wags when together, and will put 
any female to the blush with their jokes ; but they are as quiet as 
lambs when they fall singly into the clutches of a fine woman. 



BACHELORS. 41 

In spite of the general's years, he evidently is a little vain of 
his person, and ambitious of conquests. 1 have observed him 
on Sunday in church, eying the country girls most suspiciously ; 
and have seen him leer upon them with a downright amorous 
look, even when he has been gallanting Lady Lillycraft, with 
great ceremony, through the church-yard. The general, in fact, 
is a veteran iu the service of Cupid, rather than of Mars, hav- 
ing signalized himself in all the garrison towns and country 
quarters, and seen service in every ball-room in England. Not 
a celebrated beauty but he has laid siege to ; and if his word 
nrny be taken in a matter wherein no man is apt to be over- 
veracious, it is incredible the success he has had with the fair. 
At present he is like a worn-out warrior, retired from service ; 
but who still cocks his beaver with a military air, and talks 
stoutly of fighting whenever he comes within the smell of gun- 
powder. 

I have heard him speak his mind very freety over his bottle, 
about the folly of the captain in taking a wife ; as he thinks a 
young soldier should care for nothing but his u bottle and kind 
landlady/' But, iu fact, he says the service on the continent 
has had a sad effect upon the young men ; they have been 
ruiued by light wines and French quadrilles. u They've noth- 
ing," he says, " of the spirit of the old service. There are none 
of your six-bottle men left, that were the souls of a mess dinner, 
and used to play the very deuce among the women." 

As to a bachelor, the general affirms that he is a free and easy 
man, with no baggage to take care of but his portmanteau ; but 
a married man, with his wife hanging on his arm, always puts 
him in mind of a chamber candlestick, with its extinguisher 
hitched to it. I should not mind all this, if it were merely con- 
fined to tlie general ; but I fear he will be the ruin of my friend, 
Master Simon, who already begins to echo his heresies, and to 
talk in the style of a gentleman that has seen life, and lived 
upon the town. Indeed, the general seems to have taken 
Master Simon in hand, and talks of showing him the lions when 
he comes to town, and of introducing him to a knot of choice 
spirits at the Mulligatawnej* club ; which, I understand, is com- 
posed of old nabobs, officers in the Company's employ, and 
other " men of Ind," that have seen service in the East, and 
returned home burnt out with curry, and touched with the liver 
complaint. They have their regular club, where they eat Mul- 
ligatawney soup, smoke the hookah, talk about Tippoo Saib, 
Seringapatam, and tiger-hunting; and are tediously agreeable 
in each other's company. 



42 BRACES RIDGE HALL. 



WIVES. 

Believe me, man, there is no greater hlisse 

Than is the quiet joy of loving wife ; 

Which whoao wants, half of hiraeelfe doth misse. 

Friend without change, playfellow without strife, 

Food without fulnesse, counsaile without pride, 

Is this sweet doubling of our single life. SIR P. SIDNEY. 

THERE is so much talk about matrimony going on around me, 
in consequence of the approaching event for which we are as- 
sembled at the Hall, that I confess I find my thoughts singularly 
exercised on the subject. Indeed, all the bachelors of the es- 
tablishment seem to be passing through a kind of fiery ordeal ; 
for Lady Lillycrafb is one of those tender, romance-read dames 
of the old school, whose mind is filled with flames and darts, 
and who breathe nothing but constancy and wedlock. She is 
forever immersed in the concerns of the heart; and, to use a 
poetical phrase, is perfectly surrounded by u the purple light of 
love." The very general seems to feel the influence of this 
sentimental atmosphere ; to melt as he approaches her ladyship, 
and, for the time, to forget all his heresies about matrimony 
and the sex. 

The good lady is generally surrounded by little documents 
of her prevalent taste ; novels of a tender nature ; richly bound 
little books of poetry, that are filled with sonnets and love tales, 
and perfumed with rose-leaves ; and she has always an album 
at hand, for which she claims the contributions of all her 
friends. On looking over this last repository, the other day, 
I found a series of poetical extracts, in the Squire's handwrit- 
ing, which might have been intended as matrimonial hints to 
his ward. I was so much struck with several of them, that I 
took the liberty of copying them out. They are from the old 
play of Thomas Davenport, published in 1661, entitled 4k The 
City Night-Cap ; " in which is drawn out and exemplified, in the 
part of Abstemia, the character of a patient and faithful wife, 
which, I think, might vie with that of the renowned Griselda. 

I have often thought it a pity that plays aud novels should 
always end at the wedding, and should not give us another act, 
and another volume, to let us know how the hero and heroine 
conducted themselves when married. Their main object seems 
to be merely to instruct young ladies how to get husbands, but 
not how to keep them : now this last, I speak it wi.h all due 



WIVES. 48 

diffidence, appears to me to be a desideratum in modern mar- 
ried life. It is appalling to those who have not yet adventured 
into the hoi} 7 state, to see how soon the flame of romantic love 
burns out, or rather is quenched in matrimony ; and how de- 
plorably the passionate, poetic lover declines into the phleg- 
matic, prosaic husband. I am inclined to attribute this very 
much to the defect just mentioned in the plays and novels, 
which form so important a branch of study of our young ladies ; 
and which teach them how to be heroines, but leave them totally 
at a loss when they come to be wives. The play from which 
the quotations before me were made, however, is an exception 
to this remark ; and I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of 
adducing some of them for the benefit of the reader, and for 
the honor of an old writer, who has bravely attempted to 
awaken dramatic interest in favor of a woman, even after she 
was married ! 

The following is a commendation of Abstemia to her husband 
Lorenzo : 

She's modest, but not sullen, and loves silence; 

Not that she wants apt words, (for when she speaks, 

She inflames love with wonder,) but because 

She calls wise silence the soul's harmony. 

She's truly chaste ; yet such a foe to coyness, 

The poorest call her courteous; and which is excellent, 

(Though fair and young) she shuns to expose herself 

To the opinion of strange eyes. She either seldom 

Or never walks abroad but in your company, 

And then with such sweet bashful ness, as if 

She were venturing on crack'd ice, and takes delight 

To step into the print your foot hath made, 

And will follow you whole fields; so she will drive 

Tediousness out of time, with her sweet character. 

Notwithstanding all this excellence, Abstemia has the mis- 
fortune to incur the unmerited jealousy of her husband. In- 
stead, however, of resenting his harsh treatment with clamor- 
ous uphraidings, and with the stormy violence of high, windy 
virtue, by which the sparks of anger are so often blown into 
a flame, she endures it with the meekness of conscious, but 
patient, virtue ; and makes the following beautiful appeal to a 
friend who has witnessed her long-suffering : 

Hast thou not seen me 

Bear all his injuries, as the ocean suffers 
The angry bark to plough through her bosom, 
And yet i presently so smooth, the eye 
Cannot perceive where the wide wound was made? 



44 BEACEBEIDGE HALL. 

Lorenzo, being wrought on by false representations, at length 
repudiates her. To the last, however, she maintains her pa- 
tient sweetness, and her love for him, in spite of his cruelty. 
She deplores his error, even more than his unkindness ; and 
laments the delusion which has turned his very affection into a 
source of bitterness. There is a moving pathos in her parting 
address to Lorenzo, after their divorce : 

Farewell, Lorenzo, 
Whom my soul doth love : if you e'er marry, 
May you meet a good wife; BO good, that you 
May not suspect her, nor may she be worthy 
Of your suspicion ; and if you hear hereafter 
That I am dead, inquire but my last words, 
And you shall know that to the last 1 iov'd you. 
And when you walk forth with your second choice 
Into the pleasant fields, and by chance talk of me, 
Imagine that you see me, lean and pale, 
Strewing your path with flowers. 
But may she never live to pay my debts : (weeps) 

If but in thought she wrong you, may she die 
In the conception of the injury. 
Pray make me wealthy with one kiss: farewell, sir: 
Let it not grieve you when you shall remember 
That I was innocent : nor this forget, 
Though innocence here suffer, sigh, and groan, 
She walks but thorow thorns to find a throne. 

In a short time Lorenzo discovers his error, and the inno- 
cence of his injured wife. In the transports of his repentance, 
he calls to mind all her feminine excellence ; her gentle, un- 
complaining, womanly fortitude under wrongs and sorrows : 

Oh, Abstemia! 

How lovely thou lookest now ! now thou appearest 
Chaster than is the morning's modesty 
That rises with a blush, over whose bosom 
The western wind creeps softly ; now I remember 
How, when she sat at table, her obedient eye 
Would dwell on mine, as if it were not well, 
Unless it look'd where I looked : oh how proud 
She was, when she could cross herself to pleane me! 
But where now is this fair soul? Like a silver cloud 
She hath wept herself, I fear, into the dead sea, 
And will be found no more. 

It is but doing right by the reader, if interested in the fate 
of Abstemia by the preceding extracts, to say, that she was 
restored to the arms and affections of her husband, rendered 



WIVES. 45 

fonder than ever, by that disposition in eveiy good heart, to 
atone for past injustice, by an overflowing measure of return- 
ing kindness : 

Thou wealth, worth more than kingdoms; I am now 

Confirmed past all suspicion ; thou art far 

Sweeter in thy sincere truth than a sacrifice 

Deck'd up for death with garlands. The Indian winds 

That blow from off the coast and cheer the sailor 

With the sweet savor of their spices, want 

The delight flows iu tbee. 

I have been more affected and interested by this little dra- 
matic picture, than by many a popular love tale ; though, as I 
said before, I do not think it likely either Abstemia or patient 
Grizzle stand much chance of being taken for a model. Still I 
like to see poetry now and then extending its views beyond the 
wedding-day, and teaching a lady how to make herself attrac- 
tive even after marriage. There is no great need of enforcing 
on an unmarried lady the necessity of being agreeable ; nor is 
there any great art requisite in a youthful beauty to enable 
her to please. Nature has multiplied attractions around her. 
Youth is in itself attractive. The freshness of budding beauty 
needs no foreign aid to set it off ; it pleases merely because it 
is fresh, and budding, and beautiful. But it is for the married 
state that a woman needs the most instruction, and in which 
she should be most on her guard to maintain her powers of 
pleasing. No woman can expect to be to her husband all that 
he fancied her when he was a lover. Men are always doomed 
to be duped, not so much by the arts of the sex, as by their own 
imaginations. They are always wooing goddesses, and marry- 
ing mere mortals. A woman should, therefore, ascertain what 
was the charm that rendered her so fascinating when a girl, 
and endeavor to keep it up when she has become a wife. One 
great tiling undoubtedly was, the chariness of herself and her 
conduct, which an unmarried female always observes. She 
should maintain the same niceness and reserve in her person 
and habits, and endeavor still to preserve a freshness and 
virgin delicacy in the eye of her husband. She should remem- 
ber that the province of woman is to be wooed, not to woo ; to 
be caressed, not to caress. Man is an ungrateful being in love ; 
bounty loses instead of winning him. The secret of a woman's 
power does not consist so much in giving, as in withholding. 
A woman may give up too much even to her husband. It is 
to a thousand little delicacies of conduct that she must trust to 



BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

keep alive passion, and to protect herself from that dangerous 
familiarity, that thorough acquaintance with every weakness 
and imperfection incident to matrimony. By these means she 
may still maintain her power, though she has surrendered her 
person, and may continue the romance of love even beyond the 
honeymoon. 

44 She that hath a wise husband/' says Jeremy Taylor, 
44 must entice him to an eternal dearnessc by the veil of mod- 
esty, and the grave robes of chastity, the ornament of meek- 
ness, and the jewels of faith and charity. She must have no 
painting but blushiugs ; her brightness must be purity, and she 
must shine round about with sweetness and friendship ; and 
she shall be pleasant while she lives, and desired when she 
dies." 

I have wandered into a rambling series of remarks on a trite 
subject, and a dangerous one for a bachelor to meddle with. 
That I may not, however, appear to confine my observations 
entirely to the wife, I will conclude with another quotation 
from Jeremy Taylor, in which the duties of both parties are 
mentioned ; while I would recommend his sermon on the mar- 
riage-ring to all those who, wiser than myself, are about enter- 
ing the happy state of wedlock. 

14 There is scarce any matter of duty but it concerns them 
both alike, and is only distinguished by names, and hath its 
variety by circumstances and little accidents : and what in one 
is called love, in the other is called reverence ; and what in the 
wife is obedience, the same in the man is duty. He provides, 
and she dispenses ; he gives commandments, and she rules by 
them ; he rules her by authority, and she rules him by love ; 
she ought by all means to please him, and he must by no means 
displease her." 



STORY TELLING. 

A FAVORITE evening pastime at the Hall, and one which 
worthy Squire is fond of promoting, is story telling, u a good, 
old-fashioned fire-side amusement," as he terms it. Indeed, 
I believe he promotes it, chiefly, because it was one of the 
choice recreations in those days of yore, when ladies and gen- 
tlemen were not much in the habit of reading. Be this as it 
may, he will often, at supper-table, when conversation flags, 
call on some one or other of the company for a story, as it was 



THE STOUT GENTLEMAN. 47 

formerly the custom to call for a song ; and it is edifying to see 
the exemplary patience, and even satisfaction, with which the 
good old gentleman will sit and listen to some hackneyed tale 
that he has heard for at least a hundred times. 

In this way, one evening, the current of anecdotes and stories 
ran upon mysterious personages that have figured at different 
times, and filled the world with doubt and conjecture ; such as 
the Wandering Jew, the Man with the Iron Mask, who tor- 
mented the curiosity of all Europe ; the Invisible Girl, and 
last, though not least, the Tig-faced Lady. 

At length, one of the company was called upon that had the 
most unpromising physiognomj' for a story teller, that evef 
I had seen. He was a thin, pale, weazen-faced man, extremely 
nervous, that had sat at one corner of the table, shrunk up, a? 
it were, into himself, and almost swallowed up in the cape of 
his coat, as a turtle in its shell. 

. The very demand seemed to throw him into a nervous agita* 
tion ; yet he did not refuse. He emerged his head out of hi& 
shell, made a few odd grimaces and gesticulations, before he 
could get his muscles into order, or his voice under command ? 
and then offered to give some account of a mysterious person- 
age that he had recently encountered in the course of his trav- 
els, and one whom he thought fully entitled to being classed 
with the Man with the Iron Mask. 

I was so much struck with his extraordinary narrative, that 
I have written it out to the best of my recollection, for thp 
amusement of the reader. I think it has in it all the element?* 
of that mysterious and romantic narrative, so greedily sough* 
after at the present day. 



THE STOUT GENTLEMAN. 

A STAGE-COACH ROMANCE. 

"I'll cross it, though it blast me! " 



IT was a rainy Sunday, in the gloomy month of November. 
I had been detained, in the course of a journey, by a slight 
indisposition, from which I was recovering; but I was still 
feverish, and was obliged to keep within doors all day, in an 
inn of the small town of Derby. A wet Sunday in a country 
inn ! whoever has had the luck to experience one can alone 



BRACEBR1DGB HALL. 

judge of my situation. The rain pattered against the case- 
ments ; the bells tolled for church with a melancholy sound. I 
went to the windows, in quest of something to amuse the eye ; 
but it seemed as if I had been placed completely out of the 
reacli of all amusement. The windows of my bedroom looked 
out among tiled roofs and stacks of chimneys, while those of 
my sitting-room commanded a full view of the stable-yard. I 
know of nothing more calculated to make a man sick of this 
world, than a stable-yard on a rainy day. The place was lit- 
tered with wet straw, that had been kicked about by travellers 
and stable-boj's. In one corner was a stagnant pool of water, 
surrounding an island of muck ; there were several half -drowned 
fowls crowded together under a cart, among which was a miser- 
able, crest-fallen cock, drenched out of all life and spirit ; his 
drooping tail matted, as it were, into a single feather, along 
which the water trickled from his back ; near the cart was a 
half -dozing cow chewing the cud, and standing patiently to be 
rained on, with wreaths of vapor rising from her reeking hide ; 
a wall-eyed horse, tired of the loneliness of the stable, was 
poking his spectral head out of the window, with the rain drip- 
ping on it from the eaves ; an unhappy cur, chained to a dog- 
house hard by, uttered something every now and then, between 
a bark and a yelp ; a drab of a kitchen- wench tramped back- 
wards arid forwards through the yard in pattens, looking as 
sulky as the weather itself ; every thing, in short, was comfort- 
less and forlorn, excepting a crew of hard-drinking dncks, as- 
sembled like boon companions round a puddle, and making a 
riotous noise over their liquor. 

I was lonely and listless, and wanted amusement. My room 
soon became insupportable. I abandoned it, and sought what 
is technically called the travellers'-room. This is a public 
room set apart at most inns for the accommodation of a class 
of wayfarers called travellers, or riders ; a kind of commercial 
knights-errant, who are incessantly scouring the kingdom in 
gigs, on horseback, or by coach. They are the only successors 
that I know of, at the present day, to the knights-errant of 
yore. They lead the same kind of roving adventurous life, 
only changing the lance for a driving-whip, the buckler for a 
pattern-card, and the coat of mail for an upper Benjamin. 
Instead of vindicating the charms of peerless beauty, they rove 
about spreading the fame and standing of some substantial 
tradesman or manufacturer, and are ready at any time to bar- 
gain in his name ; it being the fashion now-a-days to trade, 
instead of light, with one another. As the room of the hotel, 



THE STOUT GENTLEMAN. 49 

in the good old fighting times, would be hung round at night 
with the armor of wayworn warriors, such as coats of mail, 
falchions, and yawning helmets ; so the travellers '-room is gar- 
nished with the harnessing of their successors, with box-coats, 
whips of all kinds, spurs, gaiters, and oil-cloth covered hats. 

I was in hopes of finding some of these worthies to talk with, 
but was disappointed. There were, indeed, two or three in the 
room ; but I could make nothing of them. One was just finish- 
ing his breakfast, quarrelling with his bread and butter, and 
huffing the waiter ; another buttoned on a pair of gaiters, with 
many execrations at Boots for not having cleaned his shoes 
well ; a third sat drumming on the table with his fingers, and 
looking at the rain as it streamed down the window-glass ; they 
all appeared infected by the weather, and disappeared, one after 
the other, without exchanging a word. 

I sauntered to the window, and stood gazing at the people 
picking their way to church, with petticoats hoisted mid-leg 
high, and dripping umbrellas. The bell ceased to toll, and the 
streets became silent. I then amused myself with watching 
the daughters of a tradesman opposite ; who, being confined to 
the house for fear of wetting their Sunday finery, played off 
their charms at the front windows, to fascinate the chance 
tenants of the inn. They at length were summoned away by a 
vigilant vinegar-faced mother, and I had nothing further from 
without to amuse me. 

What was I to do to pass away the long-lived day ? I was 
sadly nervous and lonely ; and every thing about an inn seems 
calculated to make a dull day ten times duller. Old news- 
papers, smelling of beer and tobacco-smoke, and which I had 
already read half-a-dozen times good-for-nothing books, that 
were worse than rainy weather. I bored myself to death with 
an old volume of the Lady's Magazine. I read all the common- 
placed names of ambitious travellers scrawled on the panes of 
glass ; the eternal families of the Smiths, and the Browns, and 
the Jacksons, and the Johnsons, and all the other sons ; and I 
deciphered several scraps of fatiguing inn- window poetry which 
I have met with in all parts of the world. 

The day continued lowering and gloomy ; the slovenly, rag- 
ged, spongy clouds drifted heavily along ; there was no variety 
even in the rain : it was one dull, continued, monotonous patter 
patter patter, excepting that now and then I was enlivened 
by the idea of a brisk shower, from the rattling of the drops 
upon a passing umbrella. 

It was quite refreshing (if I may be allowed a hackneyed 



50 BRACEBKIDGE HALt. 

phrase of the day) when, in the course of the morning, a horn 
blew, and a stage-coach whirled through the street, with outside 
passengers stuck all over it, cowering under cotton umbrellas, 
and seethed together, and reeking with the steams of wet box- 
coats and upper Benjamins. 

The sound brought out from their lurking-places a crew of 
vagabond boys, and vagabond dogs, and the carroty-headed 
hostler, and that nondescript animal ycleped Boots, and all the 
other vagabond race that infest the purlieus of an inn ; but the 
bustle was transient ; the coach again whirled on its way ; and 
boy and dog, and hostler and Boots, all slunk back again to 
their holes ; the street again became silent, and the rain con- 
tinued to rain on. In fact, there was no hope of its clearing 
up ; the barometer pointed to rainy weather ; mine hostess* 
tortoise-shell cat sat by the fire washing her face, and rubbing 
her paws over her ears ; and, on referring to the almanac, I 
found a direful prediction stretching from the top of the page 
to the bottom through the whole month, " expect much rain 
about this time. ' ' 

I was dreadfully hipped. The hours seemed as if they would 
never creep by. The very ticking of the clock became irksome. 
At length the stillness of the house was interrupted by the ring- 
ing of a bell. Shortly after, I heard the voice of a waiter at 
the bar: "The stout gentleman iti No. 13 wants his breakfast. 
Tea and bread and butter with ham and eggs ; the eggs not to 
be too much done." 

In such a situation as mine, every incident is of importance. 
Here was a subject of speculation presented to m}* mind, and 
ample exercise for my imagination. I am prone to paint pic- 
tures to myself, and on this occasion I had some materials to 
work upon. Had the guest up-stairs been mentioned as Mr. 
Smith, or Mr. Brown, or Mr. Jackson, or Mr. Johnson, jr 
merely as "the gentleman in No. 13," it would have been a 
perfect blank to me. I should have thought nothing of it ; but 
44 The stout gentleman ! " the very name had something in it 
of the picturesque. It at once gave the size ; it embodied the 
personage to my mind's eye, and my fancy did the rest. 

He was stout, or, as some term it, lusty ; in all probability, 
therefore, he was advanced in life, some people expanding as 
they grow old. By his breakfasting rather late, and in his own 
room, he must be a man accustomed to live at his ease, and 
above the necessity of early rising; no doubt a round, rosy, 
lusty old gentleman. 

There was another violent ringing. The stout gentleman was 



THE STOUT GENTLEMAN. 51 

impatient for his breakfast. He was evidently a man of impor- 
tance : u well- to-do in the world ; " accustomed to be promptly 
waited upon ; of a keen appetite, and a little cross when hungry ; 
A% perhaps," thought I, " he may be some London Alderman; 
or who knows but he may be a Member of Parliament ? ' ' 

The breakfast was sent up and there was a short interval of 
silence; he was, doubtless, making the tea. Presently there 
was a violent ringing, and before it could be answered, another 
ringing still more violent. " Bless me! what a choleric old 
gentleman!" The waiter came down in a huff. Ihe butter 
was rancid, the eggs were overdone, the ham was too salt : 
the stout gentleman was evidently nice in his eating; one of 
those who eat and growl, and keep the waiter on the trot, and 
live in a state militant with the household. 

The hostess got into a fume. I should observe that she was 
a brisk, coquettish woman ; a little of a shrew, and something 
of a slammerkin, but very pretty withal ; with a nincompoop 
for a husband, as shrews are apt to have. She rated the ser- 
vants roundly for their negligence in sending up so bad a break- 
fast, but said not a word against the stout gentleman ; by which 
I clcarh r perceived that he must be a man of consequence, 
entitled to- make a noise and to give trouble at a country inn. 
Other eggs, and ham, and bread and butter, were sent up. 
They appeared to be more graciously received ; at least there 
was no further complaint. 

I had not made many turns about the travellers '-room, when 
there was another ringing. Shortly afterwards there was a stir 
and an inquest about the house. The stout gentleman wanted 
the Times or the Chronicle newspaper. I set him down, there- 
fore, for a Whig ; or rather, from his being so absolute and 
lordly where he had a chance, I suspected him of being a Radical. 
Hunt, I had heard, was a large man; "who knows,'* thought 
I, " but it is Hunt himself ! " 

My curiosity began to be awakened. I inquired of the waiter 
who was this stout gentleman that was making all this stir ; but 
I could get no information : nobody seemed to know his name. 
The landlords of bustling inns seldom trouble their heads about 
the names or occupations of their transient guests. The color 
of a coat, the shape or size of the person, is enough to suggest 
a travelling name. It is either the tall gentleman, or the short 
gentleman, or the gentleman in black, or the gentleman in 
snuff-color ; or, as in the present instance, the stout gentleman. 
A designation of the kind once hit on answers every purpose, 
and saves all further inquiry. 



BHACEBRIDQE HALL. 

Rain rain rain ! pitiless, ceaseless rain ! No such thing 
as putting a foot out of doors, and no occupation nor amuse- 
ment within. By and by I heard some one walking overhead. 
It was in the stout gentleman's room. He evidently was a large 
man, by the heaviness of his tread ; and an old man, from his 
wearing such creaking soles. " He is doubtless," thought I, 
" some rich old square-toes, of regular habits, and is now tak- 
ing exercise after breakfast." 

I now read all the advertisements of coaches and hotels that 
were stuck about the mantel-piece. The Lady's Magazine had 
become an abomination to me ; it was as tedious as the day 
itself. 1 wandered out, not knowing what to do, and ascended 
again to my room. I had not been there long, when there was 
a squall from a neighboring bedroom. A door opened and 
slammed violently ; a chamber-maid, that I had remarked for 
having a ruddy, good-humored face, went down-stairs in a 
violent flurry. The stout gentleman had been rude to her. 

This sent a whole host of my deductions to the deuce in a 
moment. This unknown personage could not be an old gentle- 
man ; for old gentlemen are not apt to be so obstreperous to 
chamber-maids. He could not be a young gentleman ; for young 
gentlemen are not apt to inspire such indignation. lie must 
be a middle-aged man, and confounded ugly into the bargain, 
or the girl would not have taken the matter in such terrible 
dudgeon. I confess I was sorely puzzled. 

In a few minutes I heard the voice of my landlady. T caught 
a glance of her as she came tramping up-stairs ; her face glow- 
ing, her cap flaring, her tongue wagging the whole way. " She'd 
have no such doings in her house, she'd warrant ! If gentlemen 
did spend money freely, it was no rule. She'd have no servant 
maids of hers treated in that way, when they were about their 
work, that's what she wouldn't! " 

As I hate squabbles, particularly with women, and above all 
with pretty women, I slunk back into my room, and partly 
closed the door ; but my curiosity was too much excited not to 
listen. The landlady marched intrepidly to the enemy's citadel, 
and entered it with a storm : the door closed after her. I heard 
her voice in high windy clamor for a moment or two. Then it 
gradually subsided, like a gust of wind in a garret ; then there 
was a laugh ; then I heard nothing more. 

After a little while, my landlady came out with an odd smile 
on her face, adjusting her cap, which was a little on one side. 
As she went down- stairs, I heard the landlord ask her what 
was the matter; she said, "Nothing at all, only the girl's a 



THE STOUT GENTLEMAN. 58 

fool." I was more than ever perplexed what to make of 
tliis unaccountable personage, who could put a good-natured 
chamber-maid in a passion, and send away a termagant land- 
lady in smiles. He could not be so oid, nor cross, nor ugly 
either. 

I had to go to work at his picture again, and to paint him 
entirely different. I now set him down for one of those stout 
gentlemen that are frequently met with, swaggering about the 
doors of country inns. Moist, merry fellows, in Belcher hand- 
kerchiefs, whose bulk is a little assisted by malt liquors. Men 
who have seen the world, and been sworn at Highgate ; who 
are used to tavern life ; up to all the tricks of tapsters, and 
knowing in the ways of sinful publicans. Free-livers on a 
small scale ; who are prodigal within the compass of a guinea ; 
who call all the waiters by name, tousle the rnaids, gossip with 
the landlady at the bar, and prose over a pint of port, or a 
glass of negus, after dinner. 

The morning wore away in forming of these and similar sur- 
mises. As fast as I wove one system of belief, some movement 
of the unknown would completely overturn it, and throw all my 
thoughts again into confusion. Such are the solitary operations 
of a feverish mind. 1 was, as I have said, extremely nervous ; 
and the continual meditation on the concerns of this invisible 
personage began to have its effect : 1 was getting a fit of the 
fidgets. 

Dinner-time came. I hoped the stout gentleman might dine 
in the travellers '-room, and that I might at length get a view 
of his person ; but no he had dinner served in his own room. 
What could be the meaning of this solitude and mystery? He 
could not be a Radical ; there was something too aristocraticai 
in thus keeping himself apart from the rest of the world, and 
condemning himself to his own dull company throughout a 
rainy day. And then, too, he lived too well for a discontented 
politician. He seemed to expatiate on a variety of dishes, and 
to sit over his wine like a jolly friend of good living. Indeed, 
my doubts on this head were soon at an end ; for he could not 
have finished his first bottle before I could faintly hear him 
humming a tune ; and on listening, I found it to be " God save 
the King.'* 'Twas plain, then, he was no Radical, but a faith- 
ful subject : one that grew loyal over his bottle, and was ready 
to stand by king and constitution, when he could stand by 
nothing else. But who could he be? My conjectures began to 
run wild. Was he not some personage of distinction, travel- 
ling incog.? "God knows!" said I, at my wit's end; "it 



64 XRACEBRIDQE HALL. 

may be one of the royal family for aught I know, for they are 
all stout gentlemen ! " 

The weather continued rainy. The mysterious unknown 
kept his room, and, as far as I could judge, his chair, for I did 
not hear him move. In the mean time, as the day advanced, 
the travellers '-room began to be frequented. Some, who had 
just arrived, came in buttoned up in box-coats; others came 
home, who had been dispersed about the town. Some took 
their dinners, and some their tea. Had I been in a different 
mood, I should have found entertainment in studying this 
peculiar class of men. There were two especially, who were 
regular wags of the road, and up to all the standing jokes of 
travellers. They had a thousand sly things to say to the wait- 
ing-maid, whom they called Louisa, and Etheliuda, and a dozen 
other fine names, changing the name every time, and chuckling 
amazingly at their own waggery. My mind, however, had 
become completely engrossed by the stout man. He had kept 
my fancy in chase during a long day, and it was not now to be 
diverted from the scent. 

The evening gradually wore away. The travellers read the 
papers two or three times over. Some drew round the fire, 
and told long stories about their horses, about their adventures, 
their overturns, and breakings down. They discussed the cred- 
its of different merchants and different inns ; and the two wags 
told several choice anecdotes of pretty chamber-maids, and kind 
landladies. All this passed as they were quietly taking what 
they called their night-caps, that is to say, strong glasses of 
brandy and water and sugar, or some other mixture of the kind ; 
after which they one after another rang for 4 Boots ' ' and the 
chamber-maid, and walked off to bed in old shoes cut clown 
into marvellously uncomfortable slippers. 

There was only one man left ; a short-logged, long-bodied, 
plethoric fellow, with a very large, sandy head. He sat by 
himself, with a glass of port wine negus, and a spoon ; sipping 
and stirring, and meditating and sipping, until nothing was left 
but the spoon. He gradually fell asleep bolt upright in his 
chair, with the empty glass standing before him ; and the can- 
dle seemed to fall asleep too, for the wick grew long, and black, 
and cabbaged at the end, and dimmed the little light that re- 
mained in the chamber. The gloom that now prevailed was 
contagious. Around hung the shapeless, and almost spectral, 
box-coats, of departed travellers, long since buried in deep 
sleep. I only heard the ticking of the clock, with the deep- 
drawn breathings of the sleeping topers, and the drippings of 



THE STOUT GENTLEMAN. 55 

the rain, drop drop drop, from the eaves of the house. The 
church-bolls chimed midnight. All at once the stout gentle- 
man began to walk overhead, pacing slowly backwards and 
forwards. There was something extremely awful in all this, 
especially to one in my state of nerves. These ghastly great- 
coats, these guttural breathings, and the creaking footsteps of 
this mysterious being. His steps grew fainter and fainter, and 
at length died away. I could bear it no longer. I was wound 
up to the desperation of a hero of romance. " Be he who or 
what he may," said I to myself, "I'll have a sight of him ! " 
I seized a chamber candle, and hurried up to number 13. The 
door stood ajar. I hesitated I entered : the room was de- 
serted. There stood a large, broad-bottomed elbow chair at a 
table, on which was an empty tumbler, and a " Times " news- 
paper, and the room smelt powerfully of Stilton cheese. 

The mysterious stranger had evidently but just retired. I 
turned off, sorely disappointed, to my room, which had been 
changed to the front of the house. As I went along the corri- 
dor, I saw a large pair of boots, with dirty, waxed tops, stand- 
ing at the door of a bed-chamber. They doubtless belonged to 
the unknown ; but it would not do to disturb so redoubtable a 
personage in his den ; he might discharge a pistol, or something 
worse, at my head. I went to bed, therefore, and lay awake 
half the night in a terrible nervous state ; and even when I fell 
asleep, I was still haunted in my dreams by the idea of the 
stout gentleman and his wax-topped boots. 

I slept rather late the next morning, and was awakened by 
some stir and bustle in the house, which I could not at first 
comprehend ; until getting more awake, I found there was a 
mail-coach starting from the door. Suddenly there was a cry 
from below, " The gentleman has forgot his umbrella ! look for 
the gentleman's umbrella in No. 13 ! " I heard an immediate 
scampering of a chamber-maid along the passage, and a shrill 
reply as she ran, "Here it is! here's the gentleman's um- 
brella!" 

The mysterious stranger then was on the point of setting off. 
This was the only chance I should ever have of knowing him. 
I sprang out of bed, scrambled to the window, snatched aside 
the curtains, and just caught a glimpse of the rear of a person 
getting in at the coach-door. The skirts of a brown coat parted 
behind, and gave me a full view of the broad disk of a pair of 
drab breeches. The door closed "all right ! " was the word 
the coach whirled off: and that was all I ever saw of the 
stout gentleman ! 



03 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 



FOREST TREES. 

" A living gallery of aged trees." 

ONE of the favorite themes of boasting with the Squire, is 
the noble trees on his estate, which, in truth, has some of the 
finest that I have seen in England. There is something august 
and solemn in the great avenues of stately oaks that gather 
their branches together high in air, and seem to reduce the 
pedestrians beneath them to mere pygmies. "-An avenue of 
oaks or elms," the Squire observes, 4i is the true colonnade that 
should lead to a gentleman's house. As to stone and marble, 
any one can rear them at once they are the work of the day ; 
but commend me to the colonnades that have grown old and 
great with the family, and tell by their grandeur how long the 
family has endured." 

The Squire has great reverence for certain venerable trees, 
gray with moss, which he considers as the ancient nobility of his 
domain. There is the ruin of an enormous oak, which has been 
so much battered by time and tempest, that scarce any thing 
is left; though he says Christy recollects when, in his boyhood, 
it was healthy and flourishing, until it was struck by lightning. 
It is now a mere trunk, with one twisted bough stretching up 
into the air, leaving a green branch at the end of it. This 
sturdy wreck is much valued by the Squire ; he calls it his 
standard-bearer, and compares it to a veteran warrior beaten 
down in battle, but bearing up his banner to the last. He has 
actually had a fence built round it, to protect it as much as 
possible from further injury. 

It is with great difficulty that the Squire can ever be brought 
to have any tree cut down on his estate. To some he looks 
with reverence, as having been planted by his ancestors ; to 
others with a kind of paternal affection, as having been planted 
by himself ; and he feels a degree of awe in bringing down, 
with a few strokes of the axe, what it has cost centuries to 
build up. I confess I cannot but sympathize, in some degree, 
with the good Squire on the subject. Though brought up in a 
country overrun with forests, where trees are apt to be consid- 
ered mere encumbrances, and to be laid low without hesitation 
or remorse, yet I could never see a fine tree hewn down without 
concern. The poets, who are naturally lovers of trees, as they 
are of every thing that is beautiful, have artfully awakened 



FOREST TREES. 57 



great interest in their favor, by representing them as the habi- 
tations of sylvan deities ; insomuch that every great tree had its 
tutelar genius, or a nymph, whose existence was limited to its 
duration. Evelyn, in his Sylva, makes several pleasing and 
fanciful allusions to this superstition. u As the fall," says he, 
" of a very aged oak, giving a crack like thunder, has often 
been heard at many miles' distance ; constrained though I 
often am to fell them with reluctancy, I do not at any time re- 
member to have heard the groans of those nymphs (grieving 
to be dispossessed of their ancient habitations) without some 
emotion and pity." And again, in alluding to a violent storm 
that had devastated the woodlands, he says, u Methinks I still 
hear, sure I am that I still feel, the dismal groans of our 
forests ; the late dreadful hurricane having subverted so many 
thousands of goodly oaks, prostrating the trees, laying them in 
ghastly postures, like whole regiments fallen in battle by the 
sword of the conqueror, and crushing all that grew beneath 
them. The public accounts," he adds, "reckon no less than 
three thousand brave oaks in one part only of the forest of 
Dean blown down." 

I have paused more than once in the wilderness of America, 
to contemplate the traces of some blast of wind, which seemed 
to have rushed down from the clouds, and ripped its way 
through the bosom of the woodlands ; rooting up, shivering, 
and splintering the stoutest trees, and leaving a long track of 
desolation. There was something awful in the vast havoc made 
among these gigantic plants ; and in considering their magnifi- 
cent remains, so rudely torn and mangled, and hurled down to 
perish prematurely on their native soil, I was conscious of a 
strong movement of the sympathy so feelingly expressed by 
Evelyn. I recollect, also, hearing a traveller of poetical tem- 
perament expressing the kind of horror which he felt on be- 
holding on the banks of the Missouri, an oak of prodigious size, 
which had been, in a manner, overpowered by an enormous 
wild grape-vine. The vine had clasped its huge folds round the 
trunk, and from thence had wound about every branch and 
twig, until the mighty tree had withered in its embrace. It 
seemed like Laocoon struggling ineffectually in the hideous 
coils of the monster Python. It was the lion of trees perishing 
in the embraces of a vegetable boa. 

I am fond of listening to the conversation of English gentle- 
men on rural concerns, and of noticing with what taste and 
discrimination, and what strong, unaffected interest they will 
discuss topics, which, in other countries, are abandoned to 



BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

mere woodmen, or rustic cultivators. I have heard a noble earl 
descant on park and forest scenery with the science and feeling 
of a painter. He dwelt on the shape and beauty of particular 
trees on his estate, with as much pride and technical precision 
as though he had been discussing the merits of statues in his 
collection. I found that he. had even gone considerable dis- 
tances to examine trees which were celebrated among rural 
amateurs ; for it seems that trees, like horses, have their estab- 
lished points of excellence ; and that there are some in England 
which enjoy very extensive celebrity among tree-fanciers, from 
being perfect in their kind. 

There is something nobly simple and pure in such a taste : 
it argues, I think, a sweet and generous nature, to have this 
strong relish for the beauties of vegetation, and this friendship 
for the hardy and glorious sons of the forest. There is a 
grandeur of thought connected with this part of rural economy. 
It is, if I may be allowed the figure, the heroic line of hus- 
bandry. It is worthy of liberal, and free-born, and aspiring 
men. He who plants an oak, looks forward to future ages, 
and plants for posterity. Nothing can be less selfish than this. 
He cannot expect to sit in its shade, nor enjoy its shelter ; but 
he exults in the idea that the acorn which he has buried iu the 
earth shall grow up into a lofty pile, and shall keep on flour- 
ishing, and increasing, and benefiting mankind, long after he 
shall have ceased to tread his paternal fields. Indeed, it is the 
nature of such occupations to lift the thoughts above mere 
worlclliness. As the leaves of trees are said to absorb all nox- 
ious qualities of the air, and to breathe forth a purer atmos- 
phere, so it seems to me as if they drew from us all sordid and 
.angry passions, and breathed forth peace and philanthropy. 
A/ There is a serene arid settled majesty in woodland scenery, that 
L^r/ enters into the soul, and dilates and elevates it, and fills it with 
noble inclinations. The ancient and hereditary groves, too, that 
embower this island, are most of them full of story. They are 
haunted by the recollections of great spirits of past ages, who 
have sought for relaxation among them from the tumult of 
arms, or the toils of state, or have wooed the muse beneath 
their shade. Who can walk, with soul unmoved, among the 
stately groves of Penshurst, where the gallant, the amiable, 
the elegant Sir Philip Sidney passed his boyhood ; or can look 
without fondness upon the tree that is said to have been 
planted on his birthday; or can ramble among the classic 
bowers of Hagley ; or can pause among the solitudes of Wind- 
sor Forest, and look at the oaks around, huge, gray, and time- 



FOREST TREES. 59 

worn, like the old castle towers, and not feel as if he were 
surrounded by so many monuments of long-enduring glory? It 
is, when viewed in this light, that planted groves, and stately 
avenues, and cultivated parks, have an advantage over the 
more luxuriant beauties of unassisted nature. It is that they 
teem with moral associations, and keep up the ever-interesting 
story of human existence. 

It is incumbent, then, on the high and generous spirits of an 
ancient nation, to cherish these sacred groves that surround 
their ancestral mansions, and to perpetuate them to their de-! 
scendants. Republican as I am by birth, and brought up as I 
have been in republican principles and habits, I can feel noth- 
ing of the servile reverence for titled rank, merely because it 
is titled ; but I trust that I am neither churl nor bigot in my 
creed. I can both see and feel how hereditary distinction, 
when it falls to the lot of a generous mind, may elevate that 
mind into true nobility. It is one of the effects of hereditary 
rank, when it falls thus happily, that it multiplies the duties, 
and, as it were, extends the existence of the possessor. He 
does not feel himself a mere individual link in creation, respon-j 
sible only for his own brief term of being. He carries back his] 
existence in proud recollection, and he extends it forward in( 
honorable anticipation. He lives with his ancestry, and hej 
lives with his posterity. To both does he consider himself 
involved in deep responsibilities. As he has received much 
from those that have gone before, so he feels bound to trans* 
mit much to those who are to come after him. His domestic^ 
undertakings seem to imply a longer existence than those o^ 
ordinary men ; none are so apt to build and plant for future; 
centuries, as noble-spirited men, who have received their 
heritages from foregone ages. ' 

I cannot but applaud, therefore, the fondness and pride with 
which I have noticed English gentlemen, of generous tempera- 
ments, and high aristocratic feelings, contemplating those mag- 
nificent trees, which rise like towers and pyramids, from the 
midst of their paternal lands. VTThere is an affinity between 
all nature, animate and inanimate: the oak, in the pride and 
lustihood of its growth, seems to me to take its range with the 
lion and the eagle, and to assimilate, in the grandeur of its 
attributes, to heroic and intellectual mai?.\\ With its mighty 
pillar rising straight and direct towards heaven, bearing up its 
leafy honors from the impurities of earth, and supporting them 
aloft in free air and glorious sunshine, it is an emblem of what 
a true nobleman should be; a refuge for the weak, a shelter for 



60 BRACEBIllDGE HALL. 

the oppressed, a defence for the defenceless ; warding off from 
them the peltings of the storm, or the scorching rays of arbi- 
trary power. He who is this, is an ornament and a blessing 
to his native land. He who is otherwise, abuses his eminent 
advantages ; abuses the grandeur and prosperity which he has 
drawn from the bosom of his country. Should tempests arise, 
and he be laid prostrate by the storm, who would mourn over 
his fall? Should he be borne down by the oppressive hand of 
power, who would murmur at his fate? " Why cumbereth ht 
the ground?" 



A LITERARY ANTIQUARY. 

Printed bookes he contemnes, as a novelty of this latter age ; but a manuscript he 
pores on everlastingly; especially if the cover be all moth-eaten, and the dust make a 
parenthesis betweene every syllable. Mico-Cosmograp/tie, 1628. 

THE Squire receives great sympathy and support, in his anti- 
quated humors, from the parson, of whom I made some men- 
tion on my former visit to the Hall, and who acts as a kind of 
family chaplain. He has been cherished b} T the Squire almost 
constantly, since the time that they were fellow-students at 
Oxford ; for it is one of the peculiar advantages of these great 
universities, that they often link the poor scholar to the rich 
patron, by early and heart- felt ties, that last through life, 
without the usual humiliations of dependence and patronage. 
Under the fostering protection of the Squire, therefore, the 
little parson has pursued his studies in peace. Having lived 
almost entirely among books, and those, too, old books, he is 
quite ignorant of the world, and his mind is as antiquated as the 
garden at the Hall, where the flowers are all arranged in formal 
beds, and the yew-trees clipped into urns and peacocks. 

His taste for literary antiquities was first imbibed in the Bod- 
leian Library at Oxford ; where, when a student, he passed many 
an hour foraging among the old manuscripts. He has since, at 
different times, visited most of the curious libraries in England, 
and has ransacked many of the cathedrals. With all his quaint 
and curious learning, he has nothing of arrogance or pedantry ; 
but that unaffected earnestness and guileless simplicity which 
seem to belong to the literary antiquary. 

He is a dark, mouldy little man, and rather dry in his man- 
ner; 3 r et, on his favorite theme, he kindles np, mid at times is 
even eloquent. No fox-hunter, recounting his last day's sport, 



A LITERARY ANTIQUARY. 6X 

could be more animated than I have seen the worthy parson, 
when relating his search after a curious document, which he 
had traced from library to libraiy, until he fairly unearthed it 
in the dusty chapter-house of a cathedral. When, too, he de- 
scribes some venerable manuscript, with its rich illuminations, 
its thick creamy vellum, its glossy ink, and the odor of the 
cloisters that seemed to exhale from it, he rivals the enthusi- 
asm of a Parisian epicure, expatiating on the merits of a Peri- 
gord pie, or a Putt6 de /Strasbourg. 

His brain seems absolutely haunted with love-sick dreams 
about gorgeous old works in u silk linings, triple gold bands, 
and tinted leather, locked up in wire cases., and secured from 
the vulgar hands of the mere reader;** and, to continue the 
happy expressions of an ingenious writer, " dazzling one's 
eyes like eastern beauties, peering through their jalousies/* 1 

He has a great desire, however, to read such works in the 
old libraries and chapter-houses, to which they belong ; for he 
thinks a black-letter volume reads best in one of those venera- 
ble chambers where the light struggles through dusty lancet 
windows and painted glass ; and that it loses half its zest, if 
taken away from the neighborhood of the quaintly-carved 
oaken book-case and Gothic reading-desk. At his suggestion, 
the Squire has had the library furnished in this antique taste, 
and several of the windows glazed with painted glass, that they 
may throw a properly tempered light upon the pages of their 
favorite old authors. 

The parson, I am told, has been for some time meditating a 
commentary on Strutt, Brand, and Douce, in which he means 
to detect them in sundry dangerous errors in respect to popular 
games and superstitions ; a work to which the Squire looks for- 
ward with great interest. He is, also, a casual contributor to 
that long-established repository of national customs and antiq- 
uities, the Gentleman's Magazine, and is one of those that every 
now and then make an inquiry concerning some obsolete cus- 
tom or rare legend ; naj T , it is said that several of his communi- 
cations have been at least six inches in length. He frequently 
receives parcels by coach from different parts of the kingdom, 
containing mouldy volumes and almost illegible manuscripts ; 
for it is singular what an active correspondence is kept up 
among literary antiquaries, and how soon the fame of any rare 
volume, or unique copy, just discovered among the rubbish of 
a library, is circulated among them. The parson is more busy 

Disraeli Curiosities of Literature. 



HALL, 

common )nsl now, being a little flurried by an advertise* 
ment of a work, said to be preparing for the press, on the 
mythology of the middle ages. The little man has long beea 
gathering together all the hobgoblin tales he could collect, illus- 
trative of the superstitions of former times ; and be is in a com- 
plete fever lest this formidable rival should take the field 
before him. 

Shortly after my arrival at the Hall, I called at the parson- 
age, in company with Mr. Bracebridge and the general. The 
parson had not been seen for several clays, wliich was a matter 
of some surprise, as he was an almost daily visitor at the Hall. 
We found him in his stucty ; a small dusky chamber, lighted by 
a lattice window that looked into the church-yard, and was 
overshadowed by a 3 r ew-tree. His chair was surrounded by 
folios and quartos, piled upon the floor, and his table was cov- 
ered with books and manuscripts. The cause of his seclusion 
was a work which he had recently received, and with which he 
had retired in rapture from the world, and shut himself up to 
enjoy a literary honeymoon undisturbed. Never did board- 
ing-school girl devour the pages of a sentimental novel, or Don 
Quixote a chivalrous romance, with more intense delight than 
did the little man banquet on the pages of this delicious work. 
It was Dibdin's Bibliographical Tour; a work calculated to 
have as intoxicating an effect on the imaginations of literary 
antiquaries, as the adventures of the heroes of the Round Table, 
on all true knights ; or the tales of the early American voyagers 
on the ardent spirits of the age, filling them with dreams of 
Mexican and Peruvian mines, and of the golden realm of El 
Dorado. 

The good parson had looked forward to this bibliographical 
expedition as of far greater importance than those to Africa or 
the North Pole. With what eagerness had he seized upon the 
history of the enterprise ! with what interest had he followed 
the redoubtable bibliographer and his graphical squire in their 
adventurous roamings among Norman castles, and cathedrals, 
and French libraries, and German convents and universities ; 
penetrating into the prison-houses of vellum manuscripts, and 
exquisitely illuminated missals, and revealing their beauties to 
the world ! 

When the parson had finished a rapturous eulogy on this 
most curious and entertaining work, he drew forth from a little 
drawer a manuscript, lately received from a correspondent, 
which had perplexed him sadly. It was written in Norman 
French, in very ancient characters, and so faded and mouldered 



A LITERARY ANTIQUARY. 

away as to be almost illegible. Tt was apparently an old Nor- 
man drinking song, that might have been brought over by one 
of William the Conqueror's carousing followers. The writing 
was just legible enough to keep a keen antiquity-hunter on a 
doubtful chase ; here and there he would be completely thrown 
out, and then there would be a few words so plainly written as 
to put him on the scent again. In this wa} r he had been led 
on for a whole day, until he had found himself completely at 
fault. 

The Squire endeavored to assist him, but was equally baffled. 
The old general listened for some time to the discussion, and 
then asked the parson if he had read Captain Morris's, or 
George Stevens's, or Anacreon Moore's bacchanalian songs? 
On the other replying in the negative, 4% Oh, then," said the 
general, with a sagacious nod, " If you want a drinking song, 
I can furnish you with the latest collection I did not know 
you had a turn for those kind of things ; and I can lend you 
the Encylopa?dia of Wit into the bargain. I never travel with- 
out them : they're excellent reading at an inn." 

It. would not be easy to describe the odd look of surprise and 
perplexity of the parson, at this proposal ; or the difficulty the 
Squire had in making the general comprehend, that though a 
jovial song of the present day was but a foolish sound in the 
ears of wisdom, and beneath the notice of a learned man, yet 
a trowl, written by a tosspot several hundred years since, was a 
matter worthy of the gravest research, and enough to set 
whole colleges by the ears. 

I have since pondered much on this matter, and have figured 
to myself what may be the fate of our current literature, when 
retiieved, piecemeal, by future antiquaries, from among the 
rubbish of ages. What a Magnus Apollo, for instance, will 
Moore become, among sober divines and dusty schoolmen ! 
Even his festive and amatory songs, which are now the mere 
quickeners of our social moments, or the delights of our draw- 
ing-rooms, will then become matters of laborious research and 
painful collation. How man}' a grave professor will then waste 
his midnight oil, or worry his brain through a long morning, 
endeavoring to restore the pure text, or illustrate the biographi- 
cal hints of " Come, tell me, says Rosa, as kissing and kissed ; " 
and how many an arid old bookworm, like the worthy little par- 
son, will give up in despair, after vainly striving to till up some 
fatal hiatus in " Fanny of Timmol " ! 

Nor is it merely such exquisite authors as Moore that are 
doomed to consume the oil of future antiquaries. Many a poor 



64 BHACEBRIDGE BALL. 

scribbler, who is now, apparently, sent to oblivion by pastry- 
cooks and cheese-mongers, will then rise again in fragments, 
and flourish in learned immortality. 

After all, thought I, time is not such an invariable destroyer 
as he is represented. If he pulls down, he likewise builds up ; 
if he impoverishes one, he enriches another ; his very dilapida- 
tions furnish matter for new works of controversy, and his rust 
is more precious than the most costly gilding. Under his plastic 
hand, trifles rise into importance ; the nonsense of one age be- 
comes the wisdom of another ; the levity of the wit gravitates 
into the learning of the pedant, and an ancient farthing moul- 
ders into infinitely more value than a modern guinea. 



THE FARM-HOUSE. 

" Love and hay 

Are thick sown, but come up full of thistles." 

BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 

I WAS so much pleased with the anecdotes which were told 
me of Ready-Money Jack Tibbets, that 1 got Master Simon, a 
day or two since, to take me to his house. It was an old- 
fashioned farm-house built with brick, with curiously twisted 
chimneys. It stood at a little distance from the road, with a 
southern exposure, looking upon a soft green slope of meadow. 
There was a small garden in front, with a row of bee-hives 
humming among beds of sweet herbs and flowers. Well-scoured 
milking tubs, with bright copper hoops, hung on the garden 
paling. Fruit trees were trained up against the cottage, and 
pots of flowers stood in the windows. A fat, superannuated 
mastiff lay in the sunshine at the door ; with a sleek cat sleep- 
ing peacefully across him. 

Mr. Tibbets was from home at the time of our calling, but 
we were received with hearty and homely welcome by his wife ; 
a notable, motherly woman, and a complete pattern for wives ; 
since, according to Master Simon's account, she never contra- 
dicts honest Jack, and yet manages to have her own way, and 
to control him in every thing. 

She received us in the main room of the house, a kind of 
parlor and hall, with great brown beams of timber across it, 
which Mr. Tibbets is apt to point out with some exultation, 
observing, that they don't put such timber in houses now-a' 



THE FARM-HOUSE. 65 

days. The furniture was old-fashioned, strong, and highly 
polished ; the walls were hung with colored prints of the story 
of the Prodigal Son, who was represented in a red coat and 
leather breeches. Over the fireplace was a blunderbuss, and 
a hard-favored likeness of Ready-Money Jack, taken when he 
was a young man, by the same artist that painted the tavern 
sign ; his mother having taken a notion that the Tibbets' had 
as much right to have a gallery of family portraits as the folks 
at the Hall. 

The good dame pressed us very much to take some refresh- 
ment, and tempted us with a variety of household dainties, so 
that we were glad to compound by tasting some of her home- 
made wines. While we were there, the son and heir-apparent 
came home ; a good-looking young fellow, and something of a 
rustic beau. He took us over the premises, and showed us the 
whole establishment. An air of homely but substantial plenty 
prevailed throughout ; every thing was of the best materials, 
and in the best condition. Nothing was out of place, or ill 
made ; and you saw everywhere the signs of a man that took 
care to have the worth of his money, and that paid as he went. 

The farm-yard was well stocked ; under a shed was a taxed 
cart, in trim order, in which Ready-Money Jack took his wife 
about the country. His well-fed horse neighed from the stable, 
and when led out. into the yard, to use the words of young Jack, 
46 lie shone like a bottle; " for he said the old man made it a 
rule that every thing about him should fare as well as he did 
himself. 

I was pleased to see the pride which the young fellow seemed 
to have of his father. He gave us several particulars concern- 
ing his habits, which were pretty much to the effect of those I 
have already mentioned. He had never suffered an account to 
stand in his life, always providing the money before he pur- 
chased any thing ; and, if possible, paying in gold and silver. 
He had a great dislike to paper money, and seldom went with- 
out a considerable sum in gold about him. On my observing 
that it was a wonder he had never been waylaid and robbed, 
the young fellow smiled at the idea of any one venturing upon 
such an exploit, for I believe he thinks the old man would be 
a match for Robin Hood and all his gang. 

I have noticed that Master Simon seldom goes into any house 
without having a world of private talk with some one or other 
of the family, being a kind of universal counsellor and confi- 
dant. We had not been long at the farm, before the old dame 
got him into a corner of her parlor, where they had a long, 



HAIL. 

whispering conference together ; in which I saw, by his shrugs, 
that there were some dubious matters discussed, and by his nods 
that he agreed with every thing she said. 

After we had come out, the young man accompanied us a little 
distance, and then, drawing Master Simon aside into a green 
lane, they walked and talked together for nearly half au hour. 
Master Simon, who has the usual propensity of confidants to 
blab every thing to the next friend they meet with, let me know 
that there was a love affair in question ; the young fellow 
having been smitten with the charms of Phoebe Wilkins, the 
pretty niece of the housekeeper at the Hail. Like most other 
love concerns, it had brought its troubles and perplexities. 
Dame Tibbets had long been on intimate, gossiping terms with 
the housekeeper, who often visited the farm-house ; but when 
the neighbors spoke to her of the likelihood of a match between 
her son and Phoebe Wilkins, u Marry come up ! " she scouted 
the very idea. The girl had acted as lady's maid ; and it was 
beneath the blood of the Tibbets', who had lived on their own 
lands time out of mind, and owed reverence and thanks to no- 
body, to have the heir-apparent marry a servant ! 

These vaporings had faithfully been carried to the house- 
keeper's ear, by one of their mutual go-between friends. The 
old housekeeper's blood, if not as ancient, was as quick as that 
of Dame Tibbets. She had been accustomed to carry a high 
head at the Hall, and among the villagers ; and her faded 
brocade rustled with indignation at the slight cast ui>on her 
alliance by the wife of a petty farmer. She maintained that 
her niece had been a companion rather than a waiting-maid to 
the young ladies. u Thank heavens, she was not obliged to 
work for her living, and was as idle as any young lady in the 
land : and when somebody died, would receive something that 
would be worth the notice of some folks, with all their ready 
money." 

A bitter feud had thus taken place between the two worthy 
dames, and the young people were forbidden to think of one 
another. As to young Jack, he was too much in love to reason 
upon the matter ; and being a little heady, and not standing in 
much awe of his mother, was ready to sacrifice the whole dignity 
of the Tibbets' to his passion. He had lately, however, had a 
violent quarrel with his mistress, in consequence of some co- 
quetry on her part, and at present stood aloof. The politic 
mother was exerting all her ingenuity to widen the accidental 
breach ; but, as is most commonly the case, the more she med- 
dled with this perverse inclination of the son, the stronger it 



HORSEMANSHIP. 67 

grew. In the mean time, old Ready-Money was kept completely 
in tiie dark ; both parties were in awe and uncertainty as to 
what might be his way of taking the matter, and dreaded to 
awaken the sleeping lion. Between father and son, therefore, 
the worthy Mrs. Tibbets was full of business, and at her wit's 
end. It was true there was no great danger of honest Ready- 
Money's finding the thing out, if left to himself ; for he was of 
a most unsuspicious temper, and by no means quick of appre- 
hension ; but there was daily risk of his attention being aroused, 
by the cobwebs which his indefatigable wife was continually 
spinning about his nose. 

Such is the distracted state of politics, in the domestic em- 
pire of Ready-Money Jack ; which only shows the intrigues and 
internal dangers to which the best-regulated governments are 
liable. In this perplexed situation of their affairs, both mother 
and son have applied to Master Simon for counsel ; and, with 
all his experience in meddling with other people's concerns, he 
finds it an exceedingly difficult part to play, to agree with both 
parties, seeing that their opinions and wishes are so diametri- 
cally opposite. 



HORSEMANSHIP. 

A coach was a strange monster in those days, and the sight put both horse and man 
into amazement. Some said it was a great crabshell brought out of China, and some 
imagined it to be one of the pagan temples, in which the canibals adored the divell. 
TAYLOR, THE WATER POET. 

I HAVE made casual mention, more than once, of one of the 
Squire's antiquated retainers, old Christy, the huntsman. I 
find that his crabbed humor is a source of much entertainment 
among the young men of the family ; the Oxonian, particuiarlj*, 
takes a mischievous pleasure, now and then, in slyly rubbing 
tiie old man against the grain, and then smoothing him down 
again ; for the old fellow is as ready to bristle up his back as 
a porcupine. He rides a venerable hunter called Pepper, which 
is a counterpart of himself, a heady cross-grained animal, that 
frets the flesh off its bones ; bites, kicks, and plays all manner 
of villanous tricks. He is as tough, and nearly as old as his 
rider, who has ridden him time out of mind, and is, indeed, the 
only one that can do any thing with him. Sometimes, however, 
they have a complete quarrel, and a dispute for mastery, and 
then, I am told) it is as good as a farce to see the heat they 



BRACEBRIDOB HALL. 

"both get into, and the wrong-headed contest that ensues ; for 
they are quite knowing in each other's ways, and in the art 
of teasing and fretting each other. Notwithstanding these 
doughty brawls, however, there is nothing that nettles old 
Christy sooner than to question the merits of the horse ; which 
he 'Upholds as tenaciously as a faithful husband will vindicate 
the virtues of the termagant spouse, that gives him a curtain 
lecture every night of his life. 

The young men call old Christy their "professor of equita- 
tion;" and in accounting for the appellation, they let me into 
some particulars of the Squire's mode of bringing up his 
children. There is an odd mixture of eccentricity and good 
sense in all the opinions of my worthy host. His mind is like 
modern Gothic, where plain brick-work is set off with pointed 
arches and quaint tracery. Though the main ground-work of 
his opinions is correct, yet he has a thousand little notions, 
picked up from old books, which stand out whimsically on the 
surface of his mind. 

Thus, in educating his boys, he chose Peacham, Markham, 
and such like old English writers, for his manuals. At an 
early age he took the lads out of their mother's hands, who 
was disposed, as mothers are apt to be, to make fine, orderly 
children of them, that should keep out of sun and rain and 
never soil their hands, nor tear their clothes. 

In place of this, the Squire turned them loose to run free 
and wild about the park, without heeding wind or weather. 
He was, also, particularly attentive in making them bold and 
expert horsemen ; and these were the days when old Christy, 
the huntsman, enjoyed great importance, as the lads were put 
under his care to practise them at the leaping-bars, and to keep 
an eye upon them in the chase. 

The Squire always objected to their riding in carriages of any 
kind, and is still a little tenacious on this point. He often rails 
against the universal use of carriages, and quotes the words of 
honest Nashe to that effect. " It was thought," says Nashe, in 
his Quateruio, u a kind of solecism, and to savor of effeminacy, 
for a young gentleman in the flourishing time of his age to 
creep into a coach, and to shroud himself from wind and 
weather: our great delight was to outbrave the blustering 
Boreas upon a great horse ; to arm and prepare ourselves to 
go with Mars and Bellona into the field, was our sport and 
pastime ; coaches and caroches we left unto them for whom 
they were first invented, for ladies and gentlemen, and decrepit 
&ge and impotent people." 



HORSEMANSHIP. 69 

The Squire insists that the English gentlemen have lost 
much of their hardiness and manhood, since the introduction of 
carriages. "Compare," he will say, "the fine gentleman of 
former times, ever on horseback, booted and spurred, and 
travel-stained, but open, frank, manly, and chivalrous, with 
the fine gentleman of the present day, full of affectation and 
effeminacy, rolling along a turnpike in his voluptuous vehicle. 
The young men of those days were rendered brave, and lofty, 
and generous in their notions, by almost living in their saddles, 
and having their foaming steeds ' like proud seas under them/ 
There is something," he adds, " in bestriding a fine horse 
that makes a man feel more than mortal. He seems to have 
doubled his nature, and to have added to his own courage and 
sagacity the power, the speed, and stateliness of the superb 
animal on which he is mounted." 

"It is a great delight," says old Nashe, "to see a young 
gentleman with his skill and cunning, by his voice, rod, and 
spur, better to manage and to command the great Bucephalus, 
than the strongest Milo, with all his strength ; one while to see 
him make him tread, trot, and gallop the ring ; and one after 
to see him make him gather up roundly ; to bear his head stead- 
ily ; to run a full career swiftly ; to stop a sudden lightly ; anon 
after to see him make him advance, to yerke, to go back, and 
sidelong, to turn on either hand ; to gallop the gallop galliard ; 
to do the capriole, the chambetta, and dance the curvetty." 

In conformity to these ideas, the Squire had them all on 
horseback at an early age, and made them ride, slapdash, about 
the country, without flinching at hedge, or ditch, or stone wall, 
to the imminent danger of their necks. 

Even the fair Julia was partially included in this system ; 
and, under the instructions of old Christy, has become one of 
the best horsewomen in the country. The Squire says it is 
better than all the cosmetics and sweeteners of the breath that 
ever were invented. He extols the horsemanship of the ladies 
in former times, when Queen Elizabeth would scarcely suffer 
the rain to stop her accustomed ride. "And then think," he 
will say, " what nobler and sweeter beings it made them. 
What a difference must there be, both in mind and body, be- 
tween a joyous, high-spirited dame of those days, glowing with 
health and exercise, freshened by every breeze that blows, 
seated loftily and gracefully on her saddle, with plume on head, 
and hawk on hand, and her descendant of the present da}*, the 
pale victim of routs and ball-rooms, sunk languidly in one cor- 
ner of an enervating carriage." 



TO BRACEBRWQE MALL. 

The Squire's equestrian system has been attended with great 
success ; for his sous, having passed through the whole course 
of instruction without breaking neck or limb, are now health- 
ful, spirited, and active, and have the true Englishman's love 
for a horse. If their manliness and frankness are praised in 
their father's hearing, lie quotes the old Persian maxim, and 
.says, they have been taught u to ride, to shoot, and to speak 
4Jrc truth." 

It is true, the Oxonian has now and then practised the old 
gentleman's doctrines a little in the extreme. He is a gay 
youngster, rather fonder of his horse than his book, with a lit- 
tle dash of the dandy ; though the ladies all declare that he is 
44 the flower of the flock. " The first year that he was sent to 
Oxford, he had a tutor appointed to overlook him, a dry chip 
of the university. When he returned home in the vacation, 
the Squire made many inquiries about how he liked his college, 
his studies, and his tutor. 

Oh, as to my tutor, sir, I've parted with him some time 



since. " 



44 You have ! and, pray, why so? " 

"Oh, sir, hunting was all the go at our college, and I was 
a little short of funds ; so I discharged my tutor, and took a 
horse, you know." 

44 Ah, 1 was not aware of that, Tom," said the Squire, mildly. 

When Tom returned to college, his allowance was doubled, 
that he might be enabled to keep both horse and tutor. 



LOVE SYMPTOMS. 

I will now begin to sigh, read poets, look pale, go neatly, and be most apparently in 
love. MARSTON. 

I SHOULD not be surprised, if we should have another pair of 
turtles at the Hall ; for Master Simon has informed me, in great 
confidence, that he suspects the general of some design upon 
the susceptible heart of Lady Lillycraft. I have, indeed, no- 
ticed a growing attention and courtesy in the veteran towards 
her ladyship; he softens very much in her company, sits by 
her at table, and entertains her with long stories about Sering- 
apatam, and pleasant anecdotes of the Mulligatawney club. I 
bave even seen him present her with a full-blown rose from the 
hot-house, in a style of the most captivating gallantry, And it 



LOVE SYMPTOMS. 71 

was accepted with great suavity and graciousness ; for her lady- 
ship delights ill receiving the homage and attention of the sex. 

Indeed, the general was one of the earliest admirers that 
dangled in her train, during her short reign of beauty ; and 
they flirted together for half a season in London, some thirty 
or forty years since. She reminded him lately, in the course 
of a conversation about former days, of the time when he used 
to ride a white horse, and to canter so gallantly by the side of 
her carriage in Hyde Park ; whereupon I have remarked that 
the veteran has regularly escorted her since, when she rides out 
oil horseback ; and, I suspect, he almost persuades himself that 
he makes as captivating an appearance as in his youthful days. 

It would be an interesting and memorable circumstance in 
the chronicles of Cupid, if this spark of the tender passion, after 
lying dormant for such a length of time, should again be fanned 
into a flame, from amidst the ashes of two burnt-out hearts. It 
would be an instance of perdurable fidelity, worthy of being 
placed beside those recorded in one of the Squire's favorite 
tomes, commemorating the constancy of the olden times ; in 
which times, we are told, " Men and wymmen coulde love 
togyders seven yeres, and no licours lustes were betwene them, 
and then ne was love, trouthe, and feythfulnes ; and lo in lyke 
w}*se was used love in King Arthur's dayes." l 

Still, however, this may be nothing but a little venerable 
flirtation, the general being a veteran dangler, and the good 
lady habituated to these kind of attentions. Master Simon, 
on the other hand, thinks the general is looking about him with 
the wary eye of an old campaigner ; and, now that he is on the 
wane, is desirous of getting into warm winter-quarters. Much 
allowance, however, must be made for Master Simon's uneasi- 
ness on the subject, for he looks on Lady Lillycraft's house as 
one of his strongholds, where he is lord of the ascendant ; and, 
with all his admiration of the general, I much doubt whether he 
would like to see him lord of the lady and the establishment. 

There are certain other symptoms, notwithstanding, that give 
an air of probability to Master Simon's intimations. Thus, 
for instance, I have observed that the general has been very 
assiduous iu his attentions to her ladyship's dogs, and has 
several times exposed his fingers to imminent jeopardy, in 
attempting to pat Beauty on the head. It is to be hoped 
his advances to the mistress will be more favorably received, as 
all his overtures towards a caress are greeted by the pestilent 

1 Morte d'Arthur. 



72 BRACEBRIDGB HALL. 

little cur with a wary kindling of the eye, and a most venomous 
growl. 

He has, moreover, been very complaisant towards my lady's 
gentlewoman, the immaculate Mrs. Hannah, whom he used to 
speak of in a way that I do not choose to mention. Whether 
she has the same suspicions with Master Simon or not, I cannot 
say ; but she receives his civilities with no better grace than the 
implacable Beauty ; unscrewing her mouth into a most acid 
smile, and looking as though she could bite a piece out of him. 
In short, the poor general seems to have as formidable foes to 
contend with, as a hero of ancient fairy tale ; who had to fight 
his way to his enchanted princess through ferocious monsters of 
every kind, and to encounter the brimstone terrors of some fiery 
dragon. 

There is still another circumstance, which inclines me to give 
very considerable credit to Master Simon's suspicions. Lady 
Lillycraft is very fond of quoting poetry, and the conversation 
often turns upon it, on which occasions the general is thrown 
completely out. It happened the other day that Spenser's 
Fairy Queen was the theme for the greater part of the morning, 
and the poor general sat perfectly silent. I found him not 
long after in the library, with spectacles on nose, a book in his 
hand, and fast asleep. On my approach, he awoke, slipt the 
spectacles into his pocket, and began to read very attentively. 
After a little while he put a paper in the place, arid laid the 
volume aside, which I perceived was the Fairy Queen. I have 
had the curiosity to watch how he got on in his poetical studies ; 
but though I have repeatedly seen him with the book in his 
hand, yet I find the paper has not advanced above three or 
four pages ; the general being extremely apt to fall asleep when 
he reads. 



FALCONRY. 

Ne is there hawk which mantleth on her perch, 

Whether high tow'rlng or acconsting low, 
But I the measure of her flight doe search, 

And all her prey and all her diet know. SPENSER. 

THERE are several grand sources of lamentation furnished 
to the worthy Squire, by the improvement of society and the 
grievous advancement of knowledge ; among which there is 
none, I believe, that causes him more frequent regret than the 
unfortunate invention of gunpowder. To this he continually 



FALCONRY. 73 

traces the decay of same favorite custom, and, indeed, the 
general downfall of all chivalrous and romantic usages. " Eng- 
lish soldiers," he says, 44 have never been the men they were in 
the days of the cross-bow and the long-bow ; when they de- 
pended upon the strength of the arm, and the English archer 
could draw a cloth-yard shaft to the head. These were the 
times when, at the battles of Cressy, Poictiers, and Agincourt, 
the French chivalry was completely destroyed by the bowmen 
of England. The yeomanry, too, have never been what they 
were, when, in times of peace, they were constantly exercised 
with the bow, and archery was a favorite holiday pastime." 

Among the other evils which have followed in the train of 
this fatal invention of gunpowder, the Squire classes the total 
decline of the noble art of falconry. " Shooting," he says, " is 
a skulking, treacherous, solitary sport, in comparison ; but 
hawking was a gallant, open, sunshiny recreation ; it was the 
generous sport of hunting carried into the skies." 

44 It was, moreover," he says, u according to Braithwaite, 
the stately amusement of 4 high and mounting spirits ; * for as the 
old Welsh proverb affirms in those times, fc you might know a 
gentleman by his hawk, horse, and greyhound. 1 Indeed, a 
cavalier was seldom seen abroad without his hawk on his fist ; 
and even a lady of rank did not think herself completely 
equipped, in riding forth, unless she had a tassel-gentel held by 
jesses on her delicate hand. It was thought in those excellent 
days, according to an old writer, 4 quite sufficient for noblemen 
to winde their horn, and to carry their hawke fair; and leave 
study and learning to the children of mean people.' " 

Knowing the good Squire's hobby, therefore, I have not been 
surprised at finding that, among the various recreations of for- 
mer times which he has endeavored to revive in the little world 
in which he rules, he has bestowed great attention on the noble 
art of falconry. In this he, of course, has been seconded by his 
indefatigable coadjutor, Master Simon ; and even the parson 
has thrown considerable light on their labors, by various hints 
on the subject, which he has met with in old English works. 
As to the precious work of that famous dame, Juliana Barnes ; 
the Gentleman's Academie, by Markham ; and the other well- 
known treatises that were the manuals of ancient sportsmen, 
they have them at their fingers' ends ; but they have more 
especially studied some old tapestry in the house, whereon is 
represented a party of cavaliers and stately dames, with doub- 
lets, caps, and flaunting feathers, mounted on horse, with 
attendants on foot, all in animated pursuit of the game. 



74 BRACBBRIDGE HALL. 

The Squire has discountenanced the killing of any hawks in 
his neighborhood, but gives a liberal bounty for all that are 
brought him alive ; so that the Hall is well stocked with all 
kinds of birds of prey. On these he and Master Simon have 
exhausted their patience and ingenuity, endeavoring to " re- 
claim " them, as it is termed, and to train them up for the sport ; 
but they have met with continual checks and disappointments. 
Their feathered school has turned out the most untractable and 
graceless scholars : nor is it the least of their trouble to drill 
the retainers who were to act as ushers under them, and to take 
immediate charge of these refractory birds. Old Christy and 
the gamekeeper both, for a time, set their faces against the 
whole plan of education ; Christy having been nettled at hearing 
what he terms a wild-goose chase put on a par with a fox-hunt ; 
and the gamekeeper having always been accustomed to look 
upon hawks as arrant poachers, which it was his duty to shoot 
down, and nail, in terrorcm, against the out-houses. 

Christy has at length taken the matter in hand, but has done 
still more mischief by his intermeddling. He is as positive and 
wrong-headed about this, as he is about hunting. Master 
Simon has continual disputes with him, as to feeding and 
training the hawks. He reads to him long passages from the 
old authors I have mentioned ; but Christy, who cannot read, 
has a sovereign contempt for all book-knowledge, and persists 
in treating the hawks according to his own notions, which arc 
drawn from his experience, in younger days, in the rearing of 
game-cocks. 

The consequence is, that, between these jarring systems, the 
poor birds have had a most trying and unhappy time of it. 
Many have fallen victims to Christy's feeding and Master 
Simon's physicking ; for the latter has gone to work secundum 
artew, and has given them all the vomitings and scourings laid 
down in the books ; never were poor hawks so fed and phys- 
icked before. Others have been lost by being but half " re- 
claimed," or tamed; for on being taken into the field, they 
have u raked " after the game quite out of hearing of the call, 
and never returned to school. 

All these disappointments had been petty, yet sore grievances 
to the Squire, and had made him to clespond about success. 
He has lately, however, been made happy by the receipt of a 
fine Welsh falcon, which Master Simon terms a stately high- 
flyer. It is a present from the Squire's friend, Sir Watkyn 
Williams Wynne ; and is, no doubt, a descendant of some 
ancient line of Welsh princes of the air, that have long lorded 



75 

it over their kingdom of clouds, from Wynnstay to the very 
summit of Snowden, or the brow of Penmanmawr. 

Ever since the Squire received this invaluable present, he 
has been as impatient to sally forth and make proof of it, as 
was Don Quixote to assay his suit of armor. There have been 
some demurs as to whether the bird was in proper health and 
training ; but these have been overruled by the vehement desire 
to play with a new toy ; and it has been determined, right or 
wrong, in season or out of season, to have a day's sport in 
hawking to-morrow. 

The Hall, as usual, whenever the Squire is about to make 
some new sally on his hobby, is all agog with the thing. Miss 
Templeton, who is brought up in reverence for all her guardi- 
an's humors, has proposed to be of the party ; and Lady Lilly- 
craft has talked also of riding out to the scene of action and 
looking on. This has gratified the old gentleman extremely ; 
he hails it as an auspicious omen of the revival of falconry, and 
does not despair but the time will come when it will be again 
the pride of a fine lady to carry about a noble falcon, in pref- 
erence to a parrot or a lap-dog. 

1 have amused myself with the bustling preparations of that 
busy spirit, Master Simon, and the continual thwartings he 
receives from that genuine son of a pepper-box, old Christy. 
They have had half-a-dozen consultations about how the hawk 
is to be prepared for the morning's sport. Old Nimrod, as 
usual, has always got in a pet, upon which Master Simon has 
invariably given up the point, observing, in a good-humored 
tone, " Well, well, have it your own way, Christy ; only don't 
put yourself in a passion;" a reply which always nettles the 
old man ten times more than ever. 



HAWKING. 

The soaring hawk, from fist that flies 

Her falconer doth constrain 
Sometimes to range the ground about 

To find her out again; 
And if by sight or sound of bell, 

His falcon he may see, 
Wo ho ! he cries, with cheerful voice 

The gladdest man is he. Handful of Pleasant Deities. 



AT an early hour this morning, the Hall was in a bustle pre- 
paring for the sport of the day. I heard Master Simon whis* 



76 BRACEBBIDGS HALL. 

tltng and singing under my window at sunrise, as he was pre- 
paring the jesses for the hawk's legs, and could distinguish 
now and then a stanza of one of his favorite old ditties : 

" In peascod time, when hound to horn 
Gives note that buck be kill'd ; 
And tittle boy, with pipe of corn, 
Is tending sheep a-field," &c. 

A hearty breakfast, well flanked b} T cold meats, was served up 
in the great hall. The whole garrison of retainers and hangers- 
on were in motion, re-enforced bv volunteer idlers from the 

7 %/ 

village. The horses were led up and down before the door; 
everybody had something to sa\*, and something to do, and 
hurried hither and thither; there was a direful yelping of 
dogs ; some that were to accompany us being eager to set off, 
and others that were to stay at home being whipped back to 
their kennels. In short, for once, the good Squire's mansion 
might have been taken as a good specimen of one of the ranti- 
pole establish meuts of the good old feudal times. 

Breakfast being finished, the chivalry of the Hall prepared 
to take the field. The fair Julia was of the party, in a hunting- 
dress, with a light plume of feathers in her riding-hat. As she 
mounted her favorite galloway, I remarked, with pleasure, that 
old Christy forgot his usual crustiness, and hastened to adjust 
her saddle and bridle. He touched his cap, as she smiled on 
him, and thanked him ; and then, looking round at the other 
attendants, gave a knowing nod of his head, in which I read 
pride and exultation at the charming appearance of his pupil. 

Lady Lillycraft had likewise determined to witness the sport. 
She was dressed in her broad white beaver, tied under the chin, 
and a riding-habit of the last century. She rode her sleek, 
ambling pony, whose motion was as easy as a rocking-chair ; 
and was gallantly escorted by the general, who looked not 
unlike one of the doughty heroes in the old prints of the battle 
of Blenheim. The parson, likewise, accompanied her on the 
other side ; for this was a learned amusement, in which he took 
great interest ; and, indeed, had given much counsel, from his 
knowledge of old customs. 

At length every thing was arranged, and off we set from the 
Hall. The exercise on horseback puts one in fine spirits : and 
the scene was gay and animating. The j'oung men of the fam- 
ily accompanied Miss Templeton. She sat lightly and grace- 
fully in her saddle, her plumes dancing and waving in the air,' 



HA WKINQ. 7T 

and the group had a charming effect, as they appeared and dis- 
appeared among the trees, cantering along, with the bounding 
animation of youth. The Squire and Master Simon rode to- 
gether, accompanied by old Christy, mounted on Pepper. The 
latter bore the hawk on his fist, as he insisted the bird was 
most accustomed to him. There was a rabble rout on foot, 
composed of retainers from the Hall, and some idlers from the 
village, with two or three spaniels, for the purpose of starting 
the game. 

A kind of corps de reserve came on quietly in the rear, com- 
posed of Lady Lillycraft, General Harbottle, the parson, and a 
fat footman. Her ladyship ambled gently along on her pony, 
while the general, mounted on a tall hunter, looked down upon 
her with an air of the most protecting gallantry. 

For my part, being no sportsman, 1 kept with this last party, 
or rather lagged behind, that I might take in the whole pic- 
ture ; and the parson occasionally slackened his pace, and 
jogged on in company with me. 

The sport led us at some distance from the Hall, in a soft 
meadow, reeking with the moist verdure of spring. A little 
river ran through it, bordered by willows, which had put forth 
their tender early foliage. The sportsmen were in quest of 
herons, which were said to keep about this stream. 

There was some disputing, already, among the leaders of the 
sport. The Squire, Master Simon, and old Christy, came every 
now and then to a pause, to consult together, like the field offi- 
cers in an army ; and I saw, by certain motions of the head, 
that Christy was as positive as any old wrong-headed German 
commander. 

As we were prancing up this quiet meadow, every sound we 
made was answered by a distinct echo, from the sunny wall of 
an old building, that lay on the opposite margin of the stream ; 
and I paused to listen to this "spirit of a sound, " which seems 
to love such quiet and beautiful places. The parson informed 
me that this was the ruin of an ancient grange, and was 
supposed, by the country people, to be haunted by a dobbie, 
a kind of rural sprite, something like Robin Goodfellow. They 
often fancied the echo to be the voice of the dobbie answer- 
ing them, and were rather slry of disturbing it after dark. He 
added, that the Squire was very careful of this ruin, on ac- 
count of the superstition connected with it. As I considered 
this local habitation of an "airy nothing," I called to mind 
the fine description of an echo in Webster's Duchess of 
Hal fry : 



7$ BRACEBJUIlGE HALL. 

" Yond side o* th* river lies a wall, 
Piece of a cloister, which, in ray opinion, 
Gives the best echo that you ever heard : 
Bo plain in the distinction of oar words, 
That many have supposed it a spirit 
That answers." 

* The parsoi. went on to comment on a pleasing and fanciful 
appellation which the Jews of old gave to the echo, which they 
Called Bath-kool, that is to say, " the daughter of the voice ; " 
they considered it an oracle, supplying in the second temple 
the want of the urim and thummim, with which the first was 
honored. 1 The little man was just entering very largely and 
learnedly upon the subject, when we were startled by a prodi- 
gious bawling, shouting, and yelping. A flight of crows, 
alarmed by the approach of our forces, had suddenly risen 
from a meadow ; a cry was put up by the rabble rout on foot 
" Now, Christy ! now is your time, Christy ! " The Squire 
and Master Simon, who were beating up the river banks in 
quest of a heron, called out eagerly to Christy to keep quiet; 
the old man, vexed and bewildered by the confusion of voices, 
completely lost his head ; in his flurry he slipped off the hood, 
cast off the falcon, and away flew the crows, and away soared 
the hawk. 

J had paused on a rising ground, close to Lady Lillycraft and 
her escort, from whence I had a good view of the sport. I was 
pleased with the appearance of the party in the meadow, rid- 
ing along in the direction that the bird flew ; their bright beam- 
ing faces turned up to the bright skies as they watched the 
game ; the attendants on foot scampering along, looking up, 
and calling out ; and the dogs bounding and yelping with clam- 
orous sympathy. 

The hawk had singled out a quarry from among the carrion 
crew. It was curious to see the efforts of the two birds to get 
above each other ; one to make the fatal swoop, the other to 
avoid it. Now they crossed athwart a bright feathery cloud, 
and now they were against the clear blue sky. I confess, being 
no sportsman, I was more interested for the poor bird that was 
striving for its life, than for the hawk that was playing the part 
of a mercenary soldier. At length the hawk got the upper 
hand, and made a rushing stoop at her quarry, but the latter 
made as sudden a surge downwards, and slanting up again, 
evaded the blow, screaming and making the best of his way 

1 Bekker's Monde enchant^. 



HA 

for a dry tree on the brow of a neighboring hill ; while the 
hawk, disappointed of her blow, soared up again into the air, 
and appeared to be fct raking " off. It was in vain old Christy 
called, and whistled, and endeavored to lure her down : she 
paid no regard to him ; and, indeed, his calls were drowned in 
the shouts and yelps of the army of militia that had followed 
him into the field. 

Just then an exclamation from Lady Lillycraft made me turn 
my head. I beheld a complete confusion among the sportsmen 
in the little vale below us. They were galloping and running 
towards the edge of a bank ; and I was shocked to see Miss 
Templeton's horse galloping at large without his rider. J rode 
to the place to which the others were hurrying, and when I 
reached the bank, which almost overhung the stream, I saw at 
the foot of it, the fair Julia, pale, bleeding, and apparently 
lifeless, supported in the arms of her frantic lover. 

In galloping heedlessly along, with her eyes turned upward, 
she had unwarily approached too near the bank ; it had given 
way with her, and she and her horse had been precipitated to 
the pebbled margin of the river. 

I never saw greater consternation. The captain was dis- 
tracted : Lady Lillycraft fainting ; the Squire in dismay, and 
Master Simon at his wit's end. The beautiful creature at length 
showed signs of returning life ; she opened her eyes ; looked 
around her upon the anxious group, and comprehending in a 
moment the nature of the scene, gave a sweet smile, and put- 
ting her hand in her lover's, exclaimed, feebly, " 1 arn not much 
hurt, Guy!" I could have taken her to my heart for that 
single exclamation. 

It was found, indeed, that she had escaped almost miracu- 
lously, with a contusion on the head, a sprained ankle, and 
some slight bruises, -^fter her wound was stanched, she was 
taken to a neighboring cottage, until a carriage could be sum- 
moned to convey her home ; and when this had arrived, the 
cavalcade which had issued forth so gayly on this enterprise, 
returned slowly and pensively to the Hall. 

I had been charmed by the generous spirit shown by this 
young creature, who, amidst pain and danger, had been anxious 
only to relieve the distress of those around her. I was grati- 
fied, therefore, by the universal concern displayed by the do- 
mestics on our return. They came crowding down the avenue, 
each eager to render assistance. The butler stood ready with 
some curiously delicate cordial ; the old housekeeper was pro- 
vided with lialf-a-dozen nostrums, prepared by her own hands, 



80 BRACBBMDQB HALL. 

according to the family receipt-book ; while her niece, the melt- 
ing Phoebe, having no other way of assisting, stood wringing her 
hands, and weeping aloud. 

The most material effect that is likely to follow this accident, 
is a postponement of the nuptials, which were close at hand. 
Though I commiserate the impatience of the captain on that 
account, } T et I shall not otherwise be sorry at the delay, as it will 
give me a better opportunity of studying the characters here 
assembled, with which I grow more and more entertained. 

I cannot but perceive that the worthy Squire is quite discon- 
certed at the unlucky result of his hawking experiment, and 
this unfortunate illustration of his eulogy on female equitation. 
Old Christy, too, is very waspish, having been sorely twitted by 
Master Simon for having let his hawk fly at carrion. As to the 
falcon, in the confusion occasioned bv the fair Julia's disaster, 

* * 

the bird was totally forgotten. J make no doubt she has 
made the best of her way back to the hospitable Hall of Sir 
Watkyn Williams Wynne ; and may very possibly, at this present 
writing, be pluming her wings among the breezy bowers of 
Wynustay. 



ST. MARK'S EVE. 

O 't is a fearful thing to be no more. 

Or if to be, to wander after death ! 

To walk as spirits do, in brakes all day, 

And when the darkness comes, to glide in paths 

That lead to graves; and in the silent vault, 

Where lies your own pale shroud, to hover o'er It, 

Striving to enter your forbidden corpse. DRYDBN. 

THE conversation this evening at the supper-table took a 
curious turn, on the subject of a superstition, formerly very 
prevalent in this part of the country, relative to the present 
night of the year, which is the Eve of St. Mark's. It was be- 
lieved, the parson informed us, that if any one would watch in 
the church porch on this eve, for three successive years, from 
eleven to one o'clock at night, he would see, on the third 
year, the shades of those of the parish who were to die in the 
course of the year, pass by him into church, clad in their usual 
apparel. 

Dismal as such a sight would be, he assured us that it was 
formerly a frequent thing for persons to make the necessary 
vigils. He had known more than one instance in his time. 



ST. MARK'S EVE. 81 

One old woman, who pretended to have seen this phantom pro- 
cession, was an object of great awe for the whole year after- 
wards, and caused much uneasiness and mischief. If she shook 
her head mysteriously at a person, it was like a death-warrant ; 
and she had nearly caused the death of a sick person, by look- 
ing ruefully in at the window. 

There was also an old man, not many years since, of a sullen, 
melancholy temperament, who had kept two vigils, and began 
to excite some talk in the village, when, fortunately for the 
public comfort, he died shortly after his third watching ; very 
probably from a cold that he had taken, as the night was tem- 
pestuous. It was reported about the village, however, that he 
had seen his own phantom pass by him into the church. 

This led to the mention of another superstition of an equally 
strange and melancholy kind, which, however, is chiefly con- 
fined to Wales. It is respecting what are called corpse-candles, 
little wandering fires, of a pale bluish light, that move about 
like tapers in the open air, and are supposed to designate the 
way some corpse is to go. One was seen at Lanyler, late at 
night, hovering up and down, along the bank of the Istwith, 
and was watched by the neighbors until they were tired, and 
went to bed. Not long afterwards there came a comely coun- 
try lass, from Montgomeryshire, to see her friends, who dwelt 
on the opposite side of the river. She thought to ford the 
stream at the very place where the light had been first seen, 
but was dissuaded on account of the height of the flood. She 
walked to and fro along the bank, just where the candle had 
moved, waiting for the subsiding of the water. She at length 
endeavored to cross, but the poor girl was drowned in the 
attempt. 1 

There was something mournful in this little anecdote of rural 
superstition, that seemed to affect all the listeners. Indeed, it 
is curious to remark how completely a conversation of the kind 
will absorb the attention of a circle, and sober down its gayety, 
however boisterous. By degrees I noticed that every one was 
leaning forward over the table, with eyes earnestly fixed upon 
the parson ; and at the mention of corpse-candles which had 
been seen about the chamber of a young lady who died on the 
eve of her wedding-clay, Lady Lillycraft turned pale. 

I have witnessed the introduction of stories of the kind into 
various evening circles ; they were often commenced in jest, 
and listened to with smiles ; but I never knew the most gay or 



i Aubrey'* Miaoel* 



82 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

the most enlightened of audiences, that were not, if the con- 
versation continued for any length of time, completely and 
solemnly interested in it. There is, I believe, a degree of 
superstition lurking in every mind ; and I doubt if any one can 
thoroughly examine all his secret notions and impulses, with- 
out detecting it, hidden, perhaps, even from himself. It seems, 
iu fact, to be a part of our nature, like instinct in animals, act- 
ing independently of our reason. It is often found existing in 
lofty natures, especially those that are poetical arid aspiring. 
A great and extraordinary poet of our day, whose life ami 
writings evince a mind subject to powerful exaltations, is said 
to believe in omens and secret intimations. Caesar, it is well 
known, was greatly under the influence of such belief ; and 
Napoleon had his good and evil days, and his presiding star. 

As to the worthy parson, I have no doubt that he is strongly 
inclined to superstition. He is naturally credulous, and passes 
so much of his time searching out popular traditions and super- 
natural tales, that his mind has probably become infected by 
them. He has lately been immersed in the Demonolatria of 
Nicholas Remigus, concerning supernatural occurrences in Lor- 
raine, and the writings of Joachimus Camcrius, called by Vos- 
sius the Phoenix of Germany ; and he entertains the ladies with 
stories from them, that make them almost afraid to go to bed 
at night. I have been charmed myself with some of the wild 
little superstitions which he has adduced from Blefke"nius, 
Scheffer, and others, such as those of the Laplanders about the 
domestic spirits which wake them at night, and summon them 
to go and fish ; of Thor, the deity of thunder, who has power 
of life -and death, health and sickness, and who, armed with 
the rainbow, shoots his arrows at those evil demons that live 
on the tops of rocks and mountains, and infest the lakes ; of 
the Juhles or Juhlafolket, vagrant troops of spirits, which roam 
the air, and wander up and down by forests and mountains, 
and the moonlight sides of hills. 

The parson never openly professes his belief in ghosts, but I 
have remarked that he has a suspicious way of pressing great 
names into the defence of supernatural doctrines, and making 
philosophers and saints fight for him. He expatiates at large 
on the opinions of the ancient philosophers about larves, or 
nocturnal phantoms, the spirits of the wicked, which wandered 
like exiles about the earth ; and about those spiritual beings 
which abode in the air, but descended occasionally to earth, and 
mingled among mortals, acting as agents between them and the 
gods. He quotes also from PUilo the rabbi, the contemporary 



. MA&1T8 EVE. 

* 
/ 

of the apostles, and, according to some, the friend of St. Paul, 
who says that the air is full of spirits of different ranks ; some 
destined to exist for a time in mortal bodies, from which being 
emancipated, they pass and repass between heaven and earth, 
as agents or messengers in the service of the deity. 

But the worthy little man assumes a bolder tone, when he 
quotes from the fathers of the church ; such as St. Jerome, who 
gives it as the opinion of all the doctors, that the air is filled 
with powers opposed to each other ; and Lactantius, who says 
that corrupt and dangerous spirits wander over the earth, ami 
seek to console themselves for their own fall by affecting the 
ruin of the human race ; and Clemens Alexandrinus, who is of 
opinion that the souls of the blessed have knowledge of what 
passes among men, the same as angels have. 

I am now alone in my chamber, but these themes have taken 
such hold of my imagination, that I cannot sleep. The room in 
which I sit is just fitted to foster such a state of mind. The 
walls are hung with tapestry, the figures of which are faded, 
and look like unsubstantial shapes melting away from sight. 
Over the fireplace is the portrait of a lady, who, according to 
the housekeeper's tradition, pined to death for the loss of her 
lover in the battle of Blenheim. She has a most pale and plain- 
tive countenance, and seems to fix her eyes mournfully upon 
me. The family have long since retired. I have heard their 
steps die away, and the distant doors clap to after them. The 
murmur of voices, and the peal of remote laughter, no longer 
reach the ear. The clock from the church, in which so many 
of the former inhabitants of this house lie buried, has chimed 
the awful hour of midnight. 

I have sat b} T the window and mused upon the dusk}' land- 
scape, watching the lights disappearing, one by one, from the 
distant village ; and the moon rising in her silent majesty, and 
leading up all the silver pomp of heaven. As I have gazed 
upon these quiet groves and shadowy lawns, silvered over, and 
imperfectly lighted by streaks of dewy moonshine, my mind 
has been crowded by " thick-coming fancies " concerning those 
spiritual beings which 

" walk the earth 
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep." 

Are there, indeed, such beings? Is this space between us and 
the deity filled up by innumerable orders of spiritual beings, 
forming the same gradations between the human soul and 
divine perfection, that we sec prevailing from humanity down- 



84 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

wards to the meanest insect? It is a sublime and beautiful 
doctrine, inculcated by the early fathers, that there are guardian 
angels appointed to watch over cities and nations ; to take care 
of the welfare of good men, and to guard and guide the steps 
of helpless infancy. u Nothing," says St. Jerome, "gives us 
a greater idea of the dignity of our soul, than that God has 
given each of us, at the moment of our birth, an angel to have 
care of it." 

Even the doctrine of departed spirits returning to visit the 
scenes and beings which were dear to them during the body's 
existence, though it has been debased by the absurd supersti- 
tions of the vulgar, in itself is awfully solemn and sublime. 
However lightly it may be ridiculed, yet the attention involun- 
tarily yielded to it whenever it is made the subject of serious 
discussion ; its prevalence in all ages and countries, and even 
among newly-discovered nations, that have had no previous 
interchange of thought with other parts of the world, prove it 
to be one of those mysteries, and almost instinctive beliefs, to 
which, if left to ourselves, we should naturally incline. 

In spite of all the pride of reason and philosophy, a vague 
doubt will still lurk in the mind, and perhaps will never be per- 
fectly eradicated ; as it is concerning a matter that does not 
admit of positive demonstration. Every thing connected with 
our spiritual nature is full of doubt and difficulty. " We are 
fearfully and wonderfully made ; " we are surrounded by mys- 
teries, and we are mysteries even to ourselves. Who yet has 
been able to comprehend and describe the nature of the soul, 
its connection with the body, or in what part of the frame it is 
situated? We know merely that it does exist; but whence it 
came, and when it entered into us, and how it is retained, and 
where it is seated, and how it operates, are all matters of mere 
speculation, and contradictory theories. If, then, we are thus 
ignorant of this spiritual essence, even while it forms a part of 
ourselves, and is continually present to our consciousness, how 
can we pretend to ascertain or to deny its powers and opera- 
tions when released from its fleshy prison-house? It is more 
the manner, therefore, in which this superstition has been de- 
graded, than its intrinsic absurdity, that has brought it into 
contempt. Raise it above the frivolous purposes to which it has 
been applied, strip it of the gloom and horror with which it has 
been surrounded, and there is none of the whole circle of vision- 
ary creeds that could more delightfully elevate the imagination, 
or more tenderly affect the heart. It would become a sovereign 
comfort at the bed of death, soothing the bitter tear wrung from 



ST. MARK'S EVE. 85 

us by the agony of our mortal separation. What could be more 
consoling than the idea, that the souls of those whom we once 
loved were permitted to return and watch over our welfare? 
that affectionate and guardian spirits sat by our pillgws when 
we slept, keeping a virgil over our most helpless hours? that 
beauty and innocence which had languished into the tomb, j'et 
smiled unseen around us, revealing themselves in those blest 
dreams wherein we live over again the hours of past endear- 
ment? A belief of this kind would, I should think, be a new 
incentive to virtue ; rendering us circumspect even in our most 
secret moments, from the idea that those we once loved and 
honored were invisible witnesses of all our actions. 

It would take awa}', too, from that loneliness and destitution 
which we are apt to feel more and more as we get on in our 
pilgrimage through the wilderness of this world, and find that 
those who set forward with us, lovingly and cheerily, on the 
journey, have, one by one, dropped away from our side. Place 
the superstition in this light, and I confess I should like to be a 
believer in it. I see nothing in it that is incompatible with the 
tender and merciful nature of our religion, nor revolting to 
the wishes and affections of the heart. 

There are departed beings that I have loved as I never again 
shall love in this world ; that have loved me as I never again 
shall be loved ! If such beings do ever retain in their blessed 
spheres the attachments which they felt on earth if they take 
an interest in the poor concerns of transient mortality, and are 
permitted to hold communion with those whom they have loved 
on earth, I feel as if now, at this deep hour of night, in this 
silence and solitude, I could receive their visitation with the 
most solemn, but unalloyed delight. 

In truth, such visitations would be too happy for this world ; 
they would be incompatible with the nature of this imperfect 
state of being. We are here placed in a mere scene of spiritual 
thraldom and restraint. Our souls are shut in and limited by 
bounds and barriers ; shackled by mortal infirmities, and sub- 

' */ 

ject to all the gross impediments of matter. In vain would 
they seek to act independently of the body, and to mingle to- 
gether in spiritual intercourse. They can only act here through 
their fleshy organs. Their earthly loves are made up of tran- 
sient embraces and long separations. The most intimate friend- 
ship, of what brief and scattered portions of time does it consist ! 
We take each other by the hand, and we exchange a few words 
and looks of kindness, and we rejoice together for a few short 
moments aud then days, months, years intervene, aud we 



88 B&ACEBRIBG& HALL. 



and know nothing of each other. Or, granting that we 
dwell together for the full season of this our mortal life, the 
grave soon closes its gates between us, and then our spirits are 
doomed -to remain in separation and widowhood ; until they 
meet again in that more perfect state of being, where soul will 
dwell with soul in blissful communion, and there will be neither 
death, nor absence, nor any thing else to interrupt our felicity. 



* # * In the foregoing paper, I have alluded to the writings of 
some of the old Jewish rabbins. They abound with wild the- 
ories ; but among them are many truly poetical flights ; and 
their ideas are often very beautifully expressed. Their specu- 
lations on the nature of angels are curious and fanciful, though 
much resembling the doctrines of the ancient philosophers. In 
the writings of the Rabbi Eleazer is an account of the tempta- 
tion of our first parents, and the fall of the angels, which the 
parson pointed out to me as having probably furnished some of 
the groundwork for " Paradise Lost." 

According to Eleazer, the ministering angels said to the 
Deity, " What is there in man, that thou makest him of such 
importance? Is he any thing else than vanity? for he can 
scarcely reason a little on terrestrial things." To which God 
replied, " Do you imagine that I will be exalted and glorified 
only by you here above? I am the same below that I am here. 
Who is there among you that can call all the creatures by their 
names? There was none found among them that could do so. 
At that moment Adam arose, and called all the creatures by 
their names. Seeing which, the ministering angels said among 
themselves, u Let us consult together how we may cause Adam 
to sin against the Creator, otherwise he will not fail to become 
our master." 

Sammael, who was a great prince in the heavens, was present 
at this council, with the saints of the first order, and the sera- 
phim of six bands. Sammael chose several out of the twelve 
orders to accompany him, and descended below, for the purpose 
of visiting all the creatures which God had created. He found 
none more cunning and more fit to do evil than the serpent. 

The Rabbi then treats of the seduction and the fall of man ; 
of the consequent fall of the demon, and the punishment which 
God inflicted on Adam, Eve, and the serpent. " He made 
them all come before him ; pronounced nine maledictions on 
Adam and Eve, and condemned them to suffer death ; and he 
precipitated Sammael and all his baud from heaven. He out 



GENTILITY. 87 

off the feet of the serpent, which had before the figure of a 
camel (Sammael having been mounted on him), and he cursed 
him among all beasts and animals." 



GENTILITY. 

True Gentrie standetb in the trade 
Of virtuous life, not in the fleshly line; 
For bloud IB knit, but Geutrie in divine. 

Mirror for Magistrates. 

I HAVE mentioned some peculiarities of the Squire in the 
education of his sons ; but I would not have it thought that his 
instructions were directed chiefty to their personal accomplish- 
ments. He took great pains also to form their minds, and to 
inculcate what he calls good old English principles, such as are 
laid down in the writings of Peacham and his contemporaries. 
There is one author of whom he cannot speak without indigna- 
tion, which is Chesterfield. He avers that he did much, for a 
time, to injure the true national character, and to introduce, 
instead of open, manly sincerity, a hollow, perfidious courtli- 
ness. " His maxims, " he affirms, " were calculated to chill 
the delightful enthusiasm of youth ; to make them ashamed of 
that romance which is the dawn of generous manhood, and to 
impart to them a cold polish and a premature worldliness. 

" Many of Lord Chesterfield's maxims would make a young 
man a mere man of pleasure ; but an English gentleman should 
not be a mere man of pleasure. He has no right to such selfish 
indulgence. His case, his leisure, his opulence, are debts due 
to his country, which he must ever stand ready to discharge. 
He should be a man at all points ; simple, frank, courteous, 
intelligent, accomplished, and informed ; upright, intrepid, and 
disinterested ; one that can mingle among freemen ; that can 
cope with statesmen ; that can champion his country and its 
rights, either at home or abroad. In a country like England, 
where there is such free and unbounded scope for the exertion 
of intellect, and where opinion and example have such weight 
with the people, every gentleman of fortune and leisure should 
feel himself bound to employ himself in some way towards 
promoting the prosperity or glory of the nation. In a country 
where intellect and action are trammelled and restrained, men 
of rank ami fortune may become idlers and triflers with im- 
punity ; but an English coxcomb is inexcusable ; and this, 



88 BRACEBRIDQE HALL. 

perhaps, is the reason why he is the most offensive and insup- 
portable coxcomb in the world." 

The Squire, as Frank Bracebridge informs me, would often 
hold forth in this manner to his sons, when they were about 
leaving the paternal roof ; one to travel abroad, one to go to 
the army, and one to the university. He used to have them 
with him in the library, which is hung with the portraits of 
Sidney, Surrey, Raleigh, Wyat, and others. u Look at those 
models of true English gentlemen, my sons," he would say 
with enthusiasm; u those were men that wreathed the graces 
of the most delicate and refined taste around the stern virtues 
of the soldier; that mingled what was gentle and gracious, 
with what was hardy and manly ; that possessed the true chiv- 
alry of spirit, which is the exalted essence of manhood. They 
are the lights by which the youth of the country should array 
themselves. They were the patterns and idols of their country 
at home ; they were the illustrators of its dignity abroad. 
4 Surrey,' says Camden, 4 was the first nobleman that illustrated 
his high birth with the beauty of learning. He was acknowl- 
edged to be the gallantest man, the politest lover, and the com- 
pletes! gentleman of his time.' And as to Wyat, his friend 
Surrey most amiably testifies of him, that his person was ma- 
jestic and beautiful, his visage 4 stern and mild ; ' that he sung, 
and played the lute with remarkable sweetness ; spoke foreign 
languages with grace and fluency, and possessed an inexhaust- 
ible fund of wit. And see what a high commendation is passed 
upon these illustrious friends : 4 They were the two chieftains, 
who, having travelled into Italy, and there tasted the sweet 
and stately measures and style of the Italian poetry, greatly 
polished our rude and homely manner of vulgar poetry from 
from what it had been before, and therefore may be justly 
called the reformers of our English poetry and style.' And 
Sir Philip Sidney, who has left us such monuments of elegant 
thought, and generous sentiment, and who illustrated his chival- 
rous spirit so gloriously in the field. And Sir Walter Raleigh, 
the elegant courtier, the intrepid soldier, the enterprising dis- 
coverer, the enlightened philosopher, the magnanimous martyr. 
These are the men for English gentlemen to study. Chester- 
field, with his cold and courtly maxims, would have chilled and 
impoverished such spirits. He would have blighted all the bud- 
ding romance of their temperaments. Sidney would never have 
written his Arcadia, nor Surrey have challenged the world in 
vindication of the beauties of his Geraldine. "These ure the 
men, my sons," the Squire will continue, "that show to what 



GENTILITY. 89 

our national character may be exalted, when its strong and pow- 
erful qualities are duly wrought up and refined. The solidest 
bodies are capable of the highest polish ; and there is no char- 
acter that may be wrought to a more exquisite and unsullied 
brightness, than that of the true English gentleman/' 

When Guy was about to depart for the army, the Squire 
again took him aside, and gave him a long exhortation. He 
warned him against that affectation of cool-blooded indiffer- 
ence, which he was told was cultivated by the young British 
officers, among whom it was a study to " sink the soldier" in 
the mere man of fashion. "A soldier," said he, "without 
pride and enthusiasm in his profession, is a mere sanguinary 
hireling. Nothing distinguishes him from the mercenary 
bravo, but a spirit of patriotism, or a thirst for glory. It is the 
fashion now-a-days, my son," said he, "to laugh at the spirit 
of chivalry ; when that spirit is really extinct, the profession of 
the soldier becomes a mere trade of blood." He then set 
before him the conduct of Edward the Black Prince, who is his 
mirror of chivalry ; valiant, generous, affable, humane ; gal- 
lant in the field. But when he came to dwell on his courtesy 
toward his prisoner, the king of France ; how he received him 
in his tent, rather as a conqueror than as a captive ; attended 
on him at table like one of his retinue ; rode uncovered beside 
him on his entry into London, mounted on a common palfrey, 
while his prisoner was mounted in state on a white steed of 
stately beauty ; the tears of enthusiasm stood in the old gentle- 
man's eyes. 

Finally, on taking leave, the good Squire put in his son's 
hands, as a manual, one of his favorite old volumes, the life of 
the Chevalier Bayard, by Godefroy ; on a blank page of which 
he had written an extract from the Morte d* Arthur, containing 
the eulogy of Sir Ector over the body of Sir Launcelot of the 
Lake, which the Squire considers as comprising the excellences 
of a true soldier. " Ah, Sir Launcelot ! thou wert head of all 
Christian knights ; now there thou liest : thou wert never 
matched of none earthly knights-hands. And thou wert the 
curtiest knight that ever bare shield. And thou wert the truest 
friend to thy lover that ever bestrood horse ; and thou wert the 
truest lover of a sinfull man that ever loved woman. And thou 
wert the kindest man that ever strook with sword ; and thou 
wert the goodliest person that ever came among the presae of 
knights. And thou wert the meekest man and the gentlest that 
ever eate in hall among ladies. And thou wert the sternest 
knight to thy mortal foe that ever put speare in the rest." 



BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 



FORTUNE-TELLING. 

Each city, each town, and every village, 

Affords us either an alms or pillage. 

And if the weather be cold and raw, 

Then in a bam we tumble on straw. 

If warm and fair, by yea-cock and nay-cock, 

The fields will afford us a hedge or a hay - cocfe, Merry Beggar*. 

As I was walking one evening with the Oxonian, Master 
Simon, and the general, in a meadow not far from the village, 
we heard the sound of a fiddle, rudely played, and looking in 
the direction from whence it came, we saw a thread of smoke 
curling up from among the trees. The sound of music is 
always attractive ; for, wherever there is music, there is good- 
humor, or good- will. We passed along a footpath, and had a 
peep through a break in the hedge, at the musician and his 
party, when the Oxonian gave us a wink, and told us that if 
we would follow him we should have some sport. 

It proved to be a gypsy encampment, consisting of three or 
four little cabins, or tents, made of blankets and sail-cloth, 
spread over hoops that were stuck in the ground. It was on 
one side of a green lane, close under a hawthorn hedge, with a 
broad beech-tree spreading above it. A small rill tinkled along 
close by, through the fresh sward, that looked like a carpet. 

A tea-kettle was hanging by a crooked piece of iron, over a 
fire made from dry sticks and leaves, and two old gypsies, in 
red cloaks, sat crouched on the grass, gossiping over their 
evening cup of tea ; for these creatures, though they live in the 
open air, have their ideas of fireside comforts. There were 
two or three children sleeping on the straw with which the 
tents were littered ; a couple of donkeys were grazing in the 
lane, and a thievish-looking dog was lying before the fire. 
Some of the younger gypsies were dancing to the music of a 
fiddle, played by a tall, slender stripling, in an old frock-coat, 
with a peacock's feather stuck in his hat-band. 

As we approached, a gypsy girl, with a pair of fine, roguish 
eyes, came up, and, as usual, offered to tell our fortunes. I 
could not but admire a certain degree of slattern elegance about 
the baggage. Her long black silken hair was curiously plaited 
in numerous small braids, and negligently put up in a pic- 
turesque style that a painter might have been proud to have 
devised. 



Her dress was of figured chintz, rather ragged, and not over- 
clean, but of a variety of most harmonious and agreeable colors ; 
for these beings have a singularly fine eye for colors. Her 
straw hat was in her hand, and a red cloak thrown over one 
arm. 

The Oxonian offered at once to have his fortune told, and the 
girl began with the usual volubility of her race ; but he drew 
her on one side, near the hedge, as he said he had no idea of 
having his secrets overheard. I saw he was talking to her 
instead of she to him, and by his glancing towards us now and 
then, that he was giving the baggage some private hints. 
When they returned to us, he assumed a very serious air. 
"Zounds ! " said he, " it's very astonishing how these creatures 
come by their knowledge ; this girl has told me some things 
that I thought no one knew but myself ! " The girl now assailed 
the general: " Come, your honor," said she, "I see by your 
face you're a lucky man ; but you're not happy in your mind ; 
you're not, indeed, sir; but have a good heart, and give me a 
good piece of silver, and I'll tell you a nice fortune." 

The general had received all her approaches with a banter, 
and had suffered her to get hold of his hand ; but at the 
mention of the piece of silver, he hemmed, looked grave, and, 
turning to us, asked if we had not better continue our walk. 
44 Come, my master," said the girl, archly, "you'd not be in 
such a hurry, if you knew all that I could tell you about a fair 
lady that has a notion for you. Come, sir; old love burns 
strong ; there's many a one comes to see weddings, that go 
away brides themselves." Here the girl whispered something 
in a low voice, at which the general colored up, was a little flut- 
tered, and suffered himself to be drawn aside under the hedge, 
where he appeared to listen to her with great earnestness, and 
at the end paid her half-a-crown with the air of a man that 
has got the worth of his money. The girl next made her attack 
upon Master Simon, who, however, was too old a bird to be 
caught, knowing that it would end in an attack upon his purse, 
about which he is a little sensitive. As he has a great notion, 
however, of being considered a roister, he chuckled her under 
the chin, played her off with rather broad jokes, and put on 
something of the rake-helly air, that we see now and then 
assumed on the stage, by the sad-boy gentleman of the old 
school. " Ah, your honor," said the girl, with a malicious leer, 
"you were not in such a tantrum last year, when I told you 
about the widow, you know who ; but if you had taken a friend's 
advice, you'd never have come away from Doncaster races witU 



92 BRACEBR1DGE HALL. 

a flea in your ear! " There was a secret sting in this speech, 
that seemed quite to disconcert Master Simon. He jerked 
away his hand in a pet, smacked his whip, whistled to his dogs, 
and intimated that it was high time to go home. The girl, how- 
ever, was determined not to lose her harvest. She now turned 
upon me, and, as I have a weakness of spirit where there is a 
pretty face concerned, she soon wheedled me out of my money, 
and, in return, read me a fortune ; which, if it prove true, and 
I am determined to believe it, will make me one of the luckiest 
men in the chronicles of Cupid. 

I saw that the Oxonian was at the bottom of all this oracular 
mystery, and was disposed to amuse himself with the general, 
whose tender approaches to the widow have attracted the notice 
of the wag. I was a little curious, however, to know the mean- 
ing of the dark hints which had so suddenly disconcerted Mas- 
ter Simon ; and took occasion to fall in the rear with the 
Oxonian on our way home, when he laughed heartily at my 
questions, and gave me ample information on the subject. 

The truth of the matter is, that Master Simon has met with 
a sad rebuff since my Christmas visit to the Hall. He used at 
that time to be joked about a widow, a fine dashing woman, as 
he privately informed me. I had supposed the pleasure he 
betrayed on these occasions resulted from the usual fondness 
of old bachelors for being teased about getting married, and 
about flirting, and being fickle and false-hearted. I am assured, 
however, that Master Simon had really persuaded himself the 
widow had a kindness for him ; in consequence of which he 
had been at some extraordinary expense in new clothes, and had 
actually got Frank Bracebridge to order him a coat from Stul tz. 
He began to throw out hints about the importance of a man's 
settling himself in life before he grew old ; he would look grave, 
whenever the widow and matrimony were mentioned in the same 
sentence ; and privately asked the opinion of the Squire and 
parson about the prudence of marrying a widow with a rich 
jointure, but who had several children. 

An important member of a great family connection cannot 
harp much upon the theme of matrimony, without its taking 
wind ; and it soon got buzzed about that Mr. Simon Bracebridge 
was actually gone to Doncaster races, with a new horse ; but 
that he meant to return in a curricle with a lady by his side. 
Master Simon did, indeed, go to the races, and that with a new 
horse ; and the dashing widow did make her appearance in a 
curricle ; but it was unfortunately driven bj T a strapping young 
Irish dragoon, with whom even Master Simon's self-compla* 



LOVE-CHARMS. 93 

cency would not allow him to venture into competition, and to 
whom she was married shortly after. 

It was a matter of sore chagrin to Master Simon for several 
months, having never before been fully committed. The dull- 
est head in the family had a joke upon him ; and there is no 
one that likes less to be bantered than an absolute joker. He 
took refuge for a time at Lady Lillycraft's, until the matter 
should blow over; and occupied himself by looking over her 
accounts, regulating the village choir, and inculcating loyalty 
into a pet bulfiuch, by teaching him to whistle " God save the 
King." 

He has now pretty nearly recovered from the mortification ; 
holds up his head, and laughs as much as any one ; again affects 
to pity married men, and is particularly facetious about widows, 
when Lady Lillycraft is not by. His only time of trial is when 
the general gets hold of him, who is infinitely heavy and per- 
severing in his waggery, and will interweave a dull joke through 
the various topics of a whole dinner-time. Master Simon often 
parries these attacks by a stanza from his old work of fct Cupid's 
Solicitor for Love : ' ' 

" "Tis in vain to wooe a widow over long, 

In once or tvice her mind you may perceive; 
WidowB are subtle, be they old or young, 
And by their wiles young men they will deceive." 



LOVE-CHARMS. 

Come, do not weep, my girl, 

Forget him, pretty Pensiveness; there will 

Come others, every day, as good as he. 8m J. SUCKLING. 

THE approach of a wedding in a family is alwa^ys an event of 
great importance, but particularly so in a household like this, 
in a retired part of the country. Master Simon, who is a 
pervading spirit, and, through means of the butler and house- 
keeper, knows every thing that goes forward, tells me that the 
maid-servants are continually trying their fortunes, and that 
the servants' -hall has of late been quite a scene of incantation. 

It is amusing to notice how the oddities of the head of a 
family flow down through all the branches. The Squire, in 
the indulgence of his love of every thing that smacks of old 
times, has held so many grave conversations with the parson 



BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

at table, about popular superstitions and traditional rites, that 
they have been carried from the parlor to the kitchen by the 
listening domestics, and, being apparently sanctioned by such 
high authority, the whole house has become infected by them. 

The servants are all versed in the common modes of trying 
luck, and the charms to insure constancy. They read their 
fortunes by drawing strokes in the ashes, or by repeating a 
form of words, and looking in a pail of water. St. Mark's 
Eve, I am told, was a busy time with them ; being an appointed 
night for certain mystic ceremonies. Several of them sowed 
hemp-seed to be reaped by their true lovers ; and they even 
ventured upon the solemn and fearful preparation of the durnb- 
cake. This must be done fasting, and in silence. The ingre- 
dients are handed down in traditional form : "An eggshell full 
of salt, an eggshell full of malt, and an eggshell full of barley- 
meal." When the cake is ready, it is put upon a pan over the 
fire, and the future husband will appear, turn the cake, and re- 
tire ; but if a word is spoken or a fast is broken during this 
awful ceremony, there is no knowing what horrible consequences 
would ensue ! 

The experiments, in the present instance, came to no result ; 
they that sowed the hemp-seed forgot the magic rhyme that they 
were to pronounce so the true lover never appeared ; and as 
to the dumb-cake, what between the awful stillness the}* had to 
keep, and the awf ulness of the midnight hour, their hearts failed 
them when they had put the cake in the pan ; so that, on the 
striking of the great house-clock in the servants '-hall, they were 
seized with a sudden panic, and ran out of the room, to which 
they did not return until morning, when they found the mystic 
cake burnt to a cinder. 

The most persevering at these spells, however, is Phoebe 
Wilkins, the housekeeper's niece. As she is a kind of privi- 
leged personage, and rather idle, she has more time to oceup} 7 
herself with these matters. She has alwaj's had her head full 
of love and matrimony. She knows the dream-book by heart, 
and is quite an oracle among the little girls of the family, who 
always come to her to interpret their dreams in the mornings. 

During tbe present gayety of the house, however, the poor 
girl has worn a face full of trouble ; and, to use the house- 
keeper's words, "has fallen into a sad hystericky way lately." 
It seems that she was born and brought up in the village, where 
her father was parish-clerk, and she was an early playmate 
and sweetheart of young Jack Tibbets. Since she has come to 
live at the Hall, however, her head has been a little turned. 



L O rE-CHARMS. 95 

* 

Being very pretty, and naturally genteel, she has been ranch 
noticed and indulged ; and being the housekeeper's niece, she 
has held an equivocal station between a servant and a com- 
panion. She has learnt something of fashions and notions 
among the young ladies, which have effected quite a metamor- 
phosis ; insomuch that her finery at church on Sundays has 
given mortal offence to her former intimates in the village. 
This has occasioned the misrepresentations which have awak- 
ened the implacable family pride of Dame Tibbets. But what 
is worse, Phoebe, having a spice of coquetry in her disposition, 
showed it on one or two occasions to her lover, which produced 
a downright quarrel ; and Jack, being very proud and fiery, has 
absolutely turned his back upon her for several successive Sun- 
days. 

The poor girl is full of sorrow and repentance, and would fain 
make up with her lover ; but he feels his security, and stands 
aloof. In this he is doubtless encouraged by his mother, who 
is continually reminding him what he owes to his family ; for 
this same family pride seems doomed to be the eternal bane of 
lovers. 

As I hate to see a pretty face in trouble, I have felt quite con- 
cerned for the luckless Phoebe, ever since 1 heard her story. It 
is a sad thiug to be thwarted in love at any time, but particu- 
larly so at this tender season of the year, when every living 
thing, even to the very butterfly, is sporting with its mate ; and 
the green fields, and the budding groves, and the singing of the 
birds, and the sweet smell of the flowers, are enough to turn 
the head of a love-sick girl. I am told that the coolness of 
young Heady-Money lies very heavy at poor Phoebe's heart. In- 
stead of singing about the house as formerly, she goes about 
pale and sighing, and is apt to break into tears when her com- 
panions are full of merriment. 

Mrs. Hannah, the vestal gentlewoman of my Lady Lillycraft, 
has had long talks and walks with Phoebe, up and down the 
avenue of an evening ; and has endeavored to squeeze some 
of her own verjuice into the other's milky nature. She speaks 
with contempt and abhorrence of the whole sex, and advises 
Phoebe to despise all the men as heartily as she does. But 
Phoebe's loving temper is not to be curdled ; she has no such 
thing as hatred or contempt for mankind in her whole composi- 
tion. She has all the simple fondness of heart of poor, weak, 
loving woman ; and her only thoughts at present are how to 
conciliate and reclaim her wayward swain. 

The spells and love-charms, which are matters of sport to 



BRACEBR1DGE HALL. 



the other domestics, are serious concerns with this love-stricken 
damsel. She is continually trying her fortune in a variety 
of ways. I am told that she has absolutely fasted for six 
Wednesdays and three Fridays successively, having under- 
stood that it was a sovereign charm to insure being married 
to one's liking within the year. She carries about, also, a lock 
of her sweetheart's hair, and a ribbon he once gave her, being 
a mode of producing constancy in a lover. She even went so 
far as to try her fortune by the moon, which has always had 
much to do with lovers' dreams and fancies. For this purpose, 
she went out in the night of the full moon, knelt on a stone in 
the meadow, and repeated the old traditional rhyme : 

"AH hail to thee, moon, all hail to thee; 
I pray thee, good moon, now show to me 
The youth who my future husband shall be." 

When she came back to the house, she was faint and pale, 
and went immediately to bed. The next morning she told the 
porter's wife that she had seen some one close by the hedge 
in the meadow, which she was sure was young Tib bets ; at any 
rate, she had dreamt of him all night; both of which, the old 
dame assured her, were most happy signs. Jt has since turned 
out that the person in the meadow was old Christy, the hunts- 
man, who was walking his nightly rounds with the great stag- 
hound ; so that Phoebe's faith in the charm is completely 
shaken. 



THE LIBRARY. 

YESTERDAY the fair Julia made her first appearance down- 
stairs since her accident ; and the sight of her spread an uni- 
versal cheerfulness through the household. She was extremely 
pale, however, and could not walk without pain and difficulty. 
She was assisted, therefore, to a sofa in the library, which is 
pleasant and retired, looking out among trees ; and so quiet, 
that the little birds come hopping upon the windows, and peer- 
ing curiously into the apartment. Here several of the family 
gathered round, and devised means to amuse her, and make 
the day pass pleasantly. Lady Liliycraft lamented the want 
of some new novel to while away the time ; and was almost in 
a pet, because the "Author of Waverley " had not produced a 
work for the last three months. 



THE LIBRARY. 97 

There was a motion made to call on the parson for some 
of his old legends or ghost stories ; but to this Lady Lillyeraft 
objected, as they were apt to give her the vapors. General 
Harbottle gave a minute account, for the sixth time, of the 
disaster of a friend in India, who had his leg bitten off by a 
tiger, whilst he was hunting ; and was proceeding to menace 
the company with a chapter or two about Tippoo Sail). 

At length the captain bethought himself and said, he believed 
he had a manuscript tale lying in one corner of his campaigning 
trunk, which, if he could find, and the company were desirous, 
he would read to them. The offer was eagerly accepted. He 
retired, and soon returned with a roll of blotted manuscript, in 
a very gentlemanlike, but nearly illegible, hand, and a great 
part written on cartridge-paper. 

u It is one of the scribblings," said he, u of my poor friend, 
Charles Lightly, of the dragoons. He was a curious, romantic, 
studious, fanciful fellow ; the favorite, and often the uncon- 
scious butt of his fellow-officers, who entertained themselves 
with his eccentricities. He was in some of the hardest service 
in the peninsula, and distinguished himself by his gallantry. 
When the intervals of duty permitted, he was fond of roving 
about the country, visiting noted places, and was extremely 
fond of Moorish ruins. When at his quarters, he was a great 
scribbler, and passed much of his leisure with his pen in his 
hand. 

" As I was a much younger officer, and a very young man, 
he took me, in a manner, under his care, and we became close 
friends. He used often to read his writings to me, having a 
great confidence in my taste, for I always praised them. Poor 
fellow ! he was shot down close by me, at Waterloo. We lay 
wounded together for some time, during a hard contest that 
took place near at hand. As I was least hurt, I tried to relieve 
him, and to stanch the blood which flowed from a wound in his 
breast. He lay with his head in my lap, and looked up thank- 
fully in my face, but shook his head faintly, and made a sign 
that it was all over with him ; and, indeed, he died a few 
minutes afterwards, just as our men had repulsed the enemy, 
and came to our relief. I have his favorite dog and his pistols 
to this day, and several of his manuscripts, which he gave to 
me at different times. The one I am now going to read, is a 
tale which he said he wrote in Spain, during the time that he 
lay ill of a wound received at Salamanca." 



BRACffBRTDGE HALL. 

We now arranged ourselves to hear the story. The captain 
seated himself on the sofa, beside the fair Julia, who I had 
noticed to be somewhat affected by the picture he had care- 
lessly drawn of wounds and dangers in a field of battle. She 
now leaned her arm fondly on his shoulder, and her eye glis- 
tened as it rested on the manuscript of the poor literary 
dragoon. Lady Liliycraft buried herself in a deep, well-cush- 
ioned elbow-chair. Her dogs were nestled on soft mats at her 
feet ; and the gallant general took his station in an arm-chair, 
at her side, and toyed with her elegantly ornamented work-bag. 
The rest of the circle being all equally well accommodated, the 
captain began his story ; a copy of which I have procured for 
the benefit of the reader. 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 



What a life do I lead with ray master; nothing but blowing of bellowes, beating of 
spirits, and scraping of croelets! It is a very secret science, for none almost can under- 
atand the language of it. Sublimation, almigation, calcination, rubilicution, albitication, 
and fermentation ; with as many tcrinea uupossible to be uttered as the arte to be com- 
passed. LILLY'S Gatiatkea. 

ONCE upon a time, in the ancient city of Granada, there 
sojourned a young man of the name of Antonio dc Castros. 
He wore the garb of a student of Salamanca, and was pursuing 
a course of reading in the library of the university ; and, at in- 
tervals of leisure, indulging his curiosity by examining those 
remains of Moorish magnificence for which Granada is re- 
nowned. 

Whilst occupied in his studies, he frequently noticed an old 
man of a singular appearance, who was likewise a visitor to 
the iibrarj r . He was lean and withered, though apparently 
more from study than from age. His eyes, though bright and 
visionaiy, were sunk in his head, and thrown into shade by 
overhanging eyebrows. His dress was always the same : a 
black doublet; a short black cloak, very rusty and threadbare; 
a small ruff and a large overshadowing hat. 

His appetite for knowledge seemed insatiable. He would 
pass whole days in the library, absorbed in study, consulting a 
multiplicity of authors, as though he were pursuing some 
interesting subject through all its ramifications ; so that, in 
general, when evening came, he was almost buried among 
books and manuscripts. 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 

The curiosity of Antonio was excited, and he inquired of the 
attendants concerning the stranger. No one could give him 
any information, excepting that he had been for some time 
past a casual frequenter of the library ; that his reading lay 
chiefly among works treating of the occult sciences, and that 
he was particularly curious in his inquiries after Arabian man- 
uscripts. They added, that he never held communication with 
any one, excepting to ask for particular works ; that, after a 
fit of studious application, he would disappear for several days, 
and even weeks, and when he revisited the library, he would 
look more withered and haggard than ever. The student felt 
interested by this account ; he was leading rather a desultory 
life, and had all that capricious curiosity which springs up in 
idleness. He determined to make himself acquainted with this 
book- worm, and find out who and what he was. 

The next time that he saw the old man at the library, he 
commenced his approaches by requesting permission to look 
into one of the volumes with which the unknown appeared to 
have done. The latter merely bowed his head, in token of 
assent. After pretending to look through the volume with 
great attention, he returned it with many acknowledgments. 
The stranger made no reply. 

u May I ask, senor," said Antonio, with some hesitation, 
" may 1 ask what you are searching after in all these books? " 

The old man raised his head, with an expression of surprise, 
at having his studies interrupted for the first time, and by so 
intrusive a question. He surveyed the student with a side 
glance from head to foot : " Wisdom, my son," said he, calmly ; 
" and the search requires every moment of my attention. " He 
then cast his eye upon his book, and resumed his studies. 

4fc But, father," said Antonio, " cannot you spare a moment 
to point out the road to others ? It is to experienced travellers 
like you, that we strangers in the paths of knowledge must 
look for directions on our journey." 

The stranger looked disturbed : u I have not time enough, 
my son, to learn," said he, 4fc much less to teach. I am ignorant 
myself of the path of true knowledge ; how then can I show it 
to others ? " 

" Well, but, father " 

" Senor," said the old man, mildly, but earnestly, " you must 
see that I have but few steps more to the grave. Jn that short 
space have I to accomplish the whole business of my existence. 
1 have no time for words ; every word is as one grain of sand 
of my glass wasted. Suffer me to be alone." 



160 BRACBBEIDGE HALL. 

There was no replying to so complete a closing of the door 
of intimacy. The student found himself calmly but totally 
repulsed. Though curious and inquisitive, yet he was naturally 
modest, and on after-thoughts he blushed at his own intrusion. 
His mind soon became occupied by other objects. He passed 
several da}'s wandering among the mouldering piles of Moorish 
architecture, those melancholy monuments of an elegant and 
voluptuous people. He paced the deserted halls of the Alham- 
bra, the paradise of the Moorish kings. He visited the great 
court of the lions, famous for the perfidious massacre of the 
gallant Abeiicerrages. He gazed with admiration at its mosaic 
cupolas, gorgeously painted in gold and azure ; its basins of 
marble, its alabaster vase, supported by lions, and storied with 
inscriptions. 

His imagination kindled as he wandered among these scenes. 
They were calculated to awaken all the enthusiasm of a youth- 
ful mind. Most of the halls have anciently been beautified by 
fountains. The fine taste of the Arabs delighted in the spar- 
kling purity and reviving freshness of water ; and they erected, 
as it were, altars on every side, to that delicate element. Poetry 
mingles with architecture in the Alhambra. It breathes along 
the very walls. Wherever Antonio turned his eye, he beheld 
inscriptions in Arabic, wherein the perpetuity of Moorish power 
and splendor within these walls was confidently predicted. Alas ! 
how has the prophecy been falsified! Many of the basins, 
where the fountains had once thrown up their sparkling showers, 
were dry and dusty. Some of the palaces were turned into 
gloomy convents, and the barefoot monk paced through those 
courts, which had once glittered with the array, and echoed to 
the music, of Moorish chivalry. 

In the course of his rambles, the student more than once 
encountered the old man of the library. He was always alone, 
and so full of thought as not to notice any one about him. He 
appeared to be intent upon studying those half-buried inscrip- 
tions, which arc found, here and there, among the Moorish 
ruins, and seem to murmur from the earth the tale of former 
greatness. The greater part of these have since been trans 
lated ; but they were supposed by many at the time, to contain 
symbolical revelations, and golden maxims of the Arabian sages 
and astrologers. As Antonio saw the stranger apparently 
deciphering these inscriptions, he felt an eager longing to make 
his acquaintance, and to participate in his curious researches ; 
but the repulse he had met with at the library deterred him 
from making any further advances. 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 101 

He had directed his steps one evening to the sacred mount, 
which overlooks the beautiful valley watered by the Darro, the 
fertile plain of tiie Vega, and all that rich diversity of vale and 
mountain that surrounds Granada with an earthly paradise. It 
was twilight when he fouud himself at the place, where, at the 
present day, are situated the chapels, known by the name of the 
Sacred Furnaces. They are so called from grottos, in which 
some of the primitive saints are said to have been burnt. At 
the time of Antonio's visit, the place was an object of much 
curiosity. Jn an excavation of these grottos, several manu- 
scripts had recently been discovered, engraved on plates of 
lead. They were written in the Arabian language, excepting 
one, whicli was in unknown characters. The Pope had issued 
a bull, forbidding any one, under pain of excommunication, to 
speak of these manuscripts. The prohibition had only excited 
the greater curiosity ; and many reports were whispered about, 
that these manuscripts coutaiued treasures of dark and forbid- 
den knowledge. 

As Antonio was examining the place from whence these mys- 
terious manuscripts had been drawn, he again observed the old 
man of the library wandering among the ruins. His curiosity 
was now fully awakened ; the time and place served to stimu- 
late it. He resolved to watch this groper after secret and for- 
gotten lore, and to trace him to his habitation. There was 
something like adventure in the thing, that charmed his roman- 
tic disposition. He followed the stranger, therefore, at a little 
distance ; at first cautiously, but he soon observed him to be so 
wrapped in his own thoughts, as to take little heed of external 
objects. 

They passed along the skirts of the mountain, and then by 
the shady banks of the Darro. They pursued their way, for 
some distance from Granada, along a lonely road that led 
among the hills. The gloom of evening was gathering, and it 
was quite dark when the stranger stopped at the portal of a 
solitary mansion. 

It appeared to be a mere wing, or ruined fragment, of what 
had once been a pile of some consequence. The walls were of 
great thickness ; the windows narrow, and generally secured 
by iron bars. The door was of planks, studded with iron 
spikes, and had been of great strength, though at present it 
was much decayed. At one end of the mansion was a ruinous 
tower, in the Moorish style of architecture. The edifice had 
probably been a country retreat, or castle of pleasure, during 
the occupation of Granada by the Moors, aud rendered sutti- 



108 BnACEBRZDaB STALL. 



ciently strong to withstand any casual assault in those warlike 
times. 

The old man knocked at the portal. A light appeared at a 
small window just above it, and a female head looked out : it 
might have served as a model for one of Raphael's saints. The 
hair was beautifully braided, and gathered in a silken net ; and 
the complexion, as well as could be judged from the light, was 
that soft, rich brunette, so becoming in southern beauty. 

" It is I, my child, " said the old man. The face instantly 
disappeared, and soon after a wicket-door in the large portal 
opened. Antonio, who had ventured near to the building, 
caught a transient sight of a delicate female form. A pair of 
fine black eyes darted a look of surprise at seeing a stranger 
hovering near, and the door was precipitately closed. 

There was something in this sudden gleam of beauty that 
wonderfully struck the imagination of the student. It was like 
a brilliant, flashing from its dark casket. He sauntered about, 
regarding the gloomy pile with increasing interest. A few sim- 
ple, wild notes, from among some rocks and trees at a little 
distance, attracted his attention. He found there a group of 
Gitanas, a vagabond gypsy race, which at that time abounded 
in Spain, and lived in hovels and caves of the hills about the 
neighborhood of Granada. Some were busy about a fire, and 
others were listening to the uncouth music which one of their 
companions, seated on a ledge of the rock, was making with a 
split reed. 

Antonio endeavored to obtain some information of them, 
concerning the old building and its inhabitants. The one who 
appeared to be their spokesman was a gaunt fellow, with a 
subtle gait, a whispering voice, and a sinister roil of the eye. 
He shrugged his shoulders on the student's inquiries, and said 
that all was not right in that building. An old man inhabited 
it, whom nobody knew, and whose family appeared to be only 
a daughter and a female servant. He and his companions, he 
added, lived up among the neighboring hills ; and as they had 
been about at night, they had often seen strange lights, and 
heard strange sounds from the tower. Some of the country 
people, who worked in the vineyards among the hills, believed 
the old man to be one that dealt in the black art, and were not 
over- fond of passing near the tower at night ; " but for- our 
parts," said the Gitano, " we are not a people that trouble our- 
selves much with fears of that kind." 

The student endeavored to gain more precise information, 
but they had none to furnish him. They began to be solicitous 



TEE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 103 

for a compensation for what they had already imparted ; and, 
recollecting the loneliness of the place, and the vagabond char- 
acter of his companions, he was glad to give them a gratuity, 
and to hasten homewards. 

He sat down to his studies, but his brain was too full of what 
he had seen and heard ; his eye was upon the page, but his 
fancy still returned to the tower ; and he was continually pic- 
turing the little window, with the beautiful head peeping out ; 
or the door half open, and the nymph-like form within. He 
retired to bed, but the same object haunted his dreams. He 
was young and susceptible ; and the excited state of his feel- 
ings, from wandering among the abodes of departed grace and 
gallantry, had predisposed him for a sudden impression from 
female beauty. 

The next morning, he strolled again in the direction of the 
tower. It was still more forlorn, by the broad glare of day, 
than in the gloom of evening. The walls were crumbling, and 
weeds and moss were growing in every crevice. It had the 
look of a prison, rather than a dwelling-house. In one angle, 
however, he remarked a window which seemed an exception to 
the surrounding squalidness. There was a curtain drawn within 
it, and flowers standing on the window-stone. Whilst he was 
looking at it, the curtain was partially withdrawn, and a deli- 
cate white arm, of the most beautiful roundness, was put forth 
to water the flowers. 

The student made a noise, to attract the attention of the fair 
florist. He succeeded. The curtain was further drawn, and 
he had a glance of the same lovely face he had seen the evening 
before ; it was but a mere glance the curtain again fell, and 
the casement closed. All this was calculated to excite the 
feelings of a romantic youth. Had he seen the unknown under 
other circumstances, it is probable that he would not have been 
struck with her beauty ; but this appearance of being shut up 
and kept apart, gave her the value of a treasured gem. He 
passed and repassed before the house several times in the 
course of the day, but saw nothing more. He was there again, 
in the evening. The whole aspect of the house was dreary. 
The narrow windows emitted no rays of cheerful light, to indi- 
cate that there was social life within. Antonio listened at the 
portal, but no sound of voices reached his ear. Just then he 
heard the clapping to of a distant door, and fearing to be de- 
tected in the unworthy act of eavesdropping, he precipitately 
drew off to the opposite side of the road, and stood in the shadow 
of a ruined archway. 



104 BRACBBRIDGE HALL. 

He now remarked a light from a window in the tower. It 
was fitful and changeable ; commonly feeble and yellowish, as 
if from a lamp ; with an occasional glare of some vivid metallic 
color, followed by a dusky glow. A column of dense smoke 
would now and then rise in the air, and hang like a canopy 
over the tower. There was altogether such a loneliness and 
seeming mystery about the building and its inhabitants, that 
Antonio was half inclined to indulge the country people's 
notions, and to fancy it the den of some powerful sorcerer, and 
the fair damsel he had seen to be some spell-bound beauty. 

After some time had elapsed, a light appeared in the window 
where he had seen the beautiful arm. The curtain was down, 
but it was so thin that he could perceive the shadow of some 
one passing and repassing between it and the light. He 
fancied that he could distinguish that the form was delicate ; 
and, from the alacrity of its movements, it was evidently 
youthful. He had not a doubt but this was the bed-chamber of 
his beautiful unknown. 

Presently he heard the sound of a guitar, and a female voice 
singing. He drew near cautiously, and listened. It was a 
plaintive Moorish ballad, and he recognized in it the lamenta- 
tions of one of the Abcncerrages on leaving the walls of lovely 
Granada. It was full of passion and tenderness. It spoke of 
the delights of early life ; the hours of love it had enjoyed on 
the banks of the Darro, and among the blissful abodes of the 
Alhambfa. It bewailed the fallen honors of the Abcncerrages, 
and imprecated vengeance on their oppressors. Antonio was 
affected by the music. It singularly coincided with the place. 
It was like the voice of past times echoed in the present, and 
breathing among the monuments of its departed glory. 

The voice ceased ; after a time the light disappeared, and all 
was still. " She sleeps! " said Antonio, fondly. He lingered 
about the building, with the devotion with which a lover 
lingers about the bower of sleeping beauty. The rising moon 
threw its silver beams on the gray walls, and glittered on the 
casement. The late gloomy landscape gradually became 
flooded with its radiance. Finding, therefore, that he could no 
longer move about in obscurity, and fearful that his loiterings 
might be observed, he reluctantly retired. 

The curiosity which had at first drawn the young man to the 
tower, was now seconded by feelings of a more romantic kind. 
His studies were almost entirely abandoned. He maintained a 
kind of blockade of the old mansion ; he would take a book 
with him, and pass a great part of the day under the trees iu its 



TUE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 105 

vicinity ; keeping a vigilant eye upon it, and endeavoring to 
ascertain what were the walks of his mysterious charmer. He 
found, however, that she never went out except to mass, when 
she was accompanied by her father. He waited at the door of 
the church, and offered her the holy water, in the hope of 
touching her hand ; a little office of gallantry common in 
Catholic countries. She, however, modestly declined without 
raising her eyes to see who made the offer, and always took it 
herself from the font. She was attentive in her devotion ; her 
eyes were never taken from the altar or the priest ; and, on 
returning home, her countenance was almost entirely concealed 
by her mantilla. 

Antonio had now carried on the pursuit for several days, and 
was hourly getting more and more interested in the chase, but 
never a step nearer to the game. His lurkings about the house 
had probably been noticed, for he no longer saw the fair face 
at the window, nor the white arm put forth to water the 
flowers. His only consolation was to repair nightly to his post 
of observation, and listen to her warbling ; and if by chance he 
could catch a sight of her shadow, passing and repassiug before 
the window, he thought himself most fortunate. 

As he was indulging in one of these evening vigils, which were 
complete revels of the imagination, the sound of approaching 
footsteps made him withdraw into the deep shadow of the 
ruined archway opposite to the tower. A cavalier approached, 
wrapped in a large Spanish cloak. He paused under the win- 
dow of the tower, and after a little while began a serenade, 
accompanied by his guitar, in the usual style of Spanish gal- 
lantry. His voice was rich and manly ; he touched the instru- 
ment with skill, and sang with amorous and impassioned 
eloquence. The plume of his hat was buckled by jewels that 
sparkled in the moonbeams ; and as he played on the guitar, 
his cloak falling off from one shoulder, showed him to be richly 
dressed. It w r as evident that he was a person of rank. 

The idea now flashed across Antonio's mind, that the affec- 
tions of his unknown beauty might be engaged. She was 
young, and doubtless susceptible ; and it was not in the nature 
of Spanish females to be deaf and insensible to music and ad- 
miration. The surmise brought with it a feeling of dreariness. 
There was a pleasant dream of several days suddenly dispelled. 
He had never before experienced any thing of the tender pas- 
sion ; and, as its morning dreams are always delightful, he 
would fain have continued in the delusion. 

" But what have I to do with her attachments? " thought he ; 



106 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

44 1 have no claim on her heart, nor even on her acquaintance. 
How do I know that she is worthy of affection ? Or if she is, 
must not so gallant a lover as this, with his jewels, his rank, 
and his detestable music, have completely captivated her? 
What idle humor is this that I have fallen into? I must again 
to my books. Study, study, will soon chase away all these idle 
fancies ! " 

The more he thought, however, the more he became entangled 
in the spell which his lively imagination had woven round him ; 
and now that a rival had appeared, in addition to the other 
obstacles that environed this enchanted beauty, she appeared 
ten times more lovely and desirable. It was some slight conso- 
lation to him to perceive that the gallantry of the unknown 
met with no apparent return from the tower. The light at the 
window was extinguished. The curtain remained undrawn, 
and none of the customary signals were given to intimate that 
the serenade was accepted. 

The cavalier lingered for some time about the place, and sang 
several other tender airs with a taste and feeling that made 
Antonio's heart ache ; at length he slowly retired. The student 
remained with folded arms, leaning against the ruined arch, 
endeavoring to summon up resolution enough to depart ; but 
there was a romantic fascination that still enchained him to the 
place. "It is the last time," said he, willing to compromise 
between his feelings and his judgment, k4 it is the last time; 
then let me enjoy the dream a few moments longer. " 

As his eye ranged about the old building to take a farewell 
look, he observed the strange light in the tower, which he had 
noticed on a former occasion. It kept beaming up, and declin- 
ing, as before. A pillar of smoke rose in the air, and hung in 
sable volumes. It was evident the old man was busied in some 
of those operations that had gained him the reputation of a 
sorcerer throughout the neighborhood. 

Suddenly an intense and brilliant glare shone through the 
casement, followed by a loud report, and then a fierce and 
ruddy glow. A figure appeared at the window, uttering cries 
of agony or alarm, but immediately disappeared, and a body 
of smoke and flame whirled out of the narrow aperture. An- 
tonio rushed to the portal, and knocked at it with vehemence. 
He was only answered by loud shrieks, and found that the 
females were already in helpless consternation. With an exer- 
tion of desperate strength he forced the wicket from its hinges, 
and rushed into the house. 

He fourd himself in a small vaulted hall, and, by the light of 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 107 

the moon which entered at the door, he saw a staircase to the 
left. He hurried up it to a narrow corridor, through which 
was rolling a volume of smoke. He found here the two females 
in a frantic state of alarm ; one of them clasped her hands, and 
implored him to save her father. 

The corridor terminated in a spiral flight of steps, leading up 
to the tower. He sprang up it to a small door, through the 
chinks of which came a glow of light, and smoke was spuming 
out. He burst it open, and found himself in an antique vaulted 
chamber, furnished with a furnace and various chemical appa- 
ratus. A shattered retort lay on the stone floor ; a quantity of 
combustibles, nearly consumed, with various half-burnt books 
and papers, were sending up an expiring flame, and filling the 
chamber with stifling smoke. Just within the threshold lay the 
reputed conjurer. He was bleeding, his clothes were scorched, 
and he appeared lifeless. Antonio caught him up, and bore him 
down the stairs to a chamoer, in which there was a light, and 
laid him on a bed. The female domestic was despatched for 
such appliances as the house afforded ; but the daughter threw 
herself frantically beside her parent, and could not be reasoned 
out of her alarm. Her dress was all in disorder ; her dishev- 
elled hair hung in rich confusion about her neck and bosom, 
and never was there beheld a lovelier picture of terror and 
affliction. 

The skilful assiduities of the scholar soon produced signs of 
returning animation in his patient. The old man's wounds, 
though severe, were not dangerous. They had evidently been 
produced by the bursting of the retort ; in his bewilderment he 
had been enveloped in the stifling metallic vapors, which had 
overpowered his feeble frame, and had not Antonio arrived to 
his assistance, it is possible he might never have recovered. 

By slow degrees he came to his senses. He looked about 
with a bewildered air at the chamber, the agitated group around, 
and the student who was leaning over him. 

" Where am I? " said he wildly. 

At the sound of his voice, his daughter uttered a faint excla- 
mation of delight. u My poor Inez ! " said he, embracing her; 
then, putting his hand to his head, and taking it away stained 
with blood, he seemed suddenly to recollect himself, and to be 
overcome with emotion. 

u Ah ! " cried he, " all is over with me ! all gone ! all van- 
ished ! gone in a moment ! the labor of a lifetime lost ! ' ' 

His daughter attempted to soothe him, but he became slightly 
delirious, and raved incoherently about malignant demons, and 



108 BRACEBJtIDGE HALL. 

about the habitation of the green lion being destroyed. His 
wounds beiug dressed, and such other remedies administered 
as his situation required, he sunk into a state of quiet. An- 
tonio now turned his attention to the daughter, whose suffer- 
ings had been little inferior to those of her father. Having 
with great difficulty succeeded in tranquillizing her fears, he 
endeavored to prevail upon her to retire, and seek the repose 
so necessary to her frame, proffering to remain by her father 
until morning. " I am a stranger," said he, "it is true, and 
my offer may appear intrusive ; but I see you are lonely and 
helpless, and I cannot help venturing over the limits of mere 
ceremony. Should you feel any scruple or doubt, however, say 
but a word, and I will instantly retire/' 

There was a frankness, a kindness, and a modesty, mingled 
in Antonio's deportment, that inspired instant confidence ; and 
his simple scholar's garb was a recommendation in the house 
of poverty. The females consented to resign the sufferer to 
his cave, as they would be the better able to attend to him on 
the morrow. On retiring, the old domestic was profuse in her 
benedictions ; the daughter only looked her thanks ; but as 
they shone through the tears that filled her fine black eyes, the 
student thought them a thousand times the most eloquent. 

Here, then, he was, by a singular turn of chance, completely 
housed within this mysterious mansion. When left to himself, 
and the bustle of the scene was over, his heart throbbed as he 
looked round the chamber in which he was sitting. It was the 
daughter's room, the promised land toward which he had cast 
so many a longing gaze. The furniture was old, and had prob- 
ably belonged to the building in its prosperous days ; but every 
thing was arranged with propriety. The flowers that he had 
seen her attend stood in the window ; a guitar leaned against a 
table, on which stood a crucifix, and before it lay a missal and 
a rosary. There reigned an air of purity and serenity about 
this little nestling-place of innocence ; it was the emblem of a 
chaste and quiet mind. Some few articles of female dress lay 
on the chairs ; and there was the very bed on which she had 
slept the pillow on which her soft cheek had reclined ! The 
poor scholar was treading enchanted ground ; for what fairy 
land has more beauty of magic in it, than the bed-chamDer of 
innocence and beauty ? 

From various expressions of the old man in his ravings, and 
from what he had noticed on a subsequent visit to the tower, 
to see that the fire was extinguished, Antonio had gathered 
that his patient was an alchemist. The philosopher's stone 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 109 

was an object eagerly sought after by visionaries in those days ; 
but in consequence of the superstitious prejudices of the times, 
and the frequent persecutions of its votaries, they were apt to 
pursue their experiments in secret ; in lonely houses, in caverns 
and ruins, or in the privacy of cloistered cells. 

In the course of the night, the old man had several fits of 
restlessness and delirium ; he would call out upon Theophras- 
tus, and Geber, and Albertus Magnus, and other sages of his 
art ; and anon would murmur about fermentation and projec- 
tion, until, toward daylight, he once more sunk into a salutary 
sleep. When the morning sun darted his rays into the case- 
ment, the fair Inez, attended by the female domestic, came 
blushing into the chamber. The student now took his leave, 
having himself need of repose, but obtaining ready permission 
to return and inquire after the sufferer. 

When he called again, he found the alchemist languid and in 
pain, but apparently suffering more in mind than in body. His 
delirium had left him, and he had been informed of the particu- 
lars of his deliverance, and of the subsequent attentions of the 
scholar. He could do little more than look his thanks, but 
Antonio did not require them; his own heart repaid him for 
all that he had done, and we almost rejoiced in the disaster that 
had gained him an entrance into this mysterious habitation. 
The alchemist was so helpless as to need much assistance; 
Antonio remained with him, therefore, the greater part of the 
day. He repeated his visit the next day, and the next. Every 
day his company seemed more pleasing to the invalid ; and 
every day he felt his interest in the latter increasing. Perhaps 
the presence of the daughter might have been at the bottom of 
this solicitude. 

He had frequent and long conversations with the alchemist. 
He found him, as men of his pursuits were apt to be, a mixture 
of enthusiasm and simplicity ; of curious and extensive reading 
on points of little utility, with great inattention to the every- 
day occurrences of life, and profound ignorance of the world. 
He was deeply versed in singular and obscure branches of 
knowledge, and much given to visionary speculations. Anto- 
nio, whose mind was of a romantic cast, had himself given some 
attention to the occult sciences, and he entered upon these 
themes with an ardor that delighted the philosopher. Their 
conversations frequently turned upon astrology, divination, and 
the great secret. The old man would forget his aches and 
wounds, rise up like a spectre in his bed. and kindle into elo- 
quence on his favorite topics. When gently admonished of 



110 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

his situation, it would but prompt him to another sally of 
thought. 

" Alas, my son ! " he would say, " is not this very decrepi- 
tude and suffering another proof of the importance of those 
secrets with which we are surrounded? Why are we trammelled 
by disease, withered by old age, and our spirits quenched, as it 
were, within us, but because we have lost those secrets of life 
and youth which were known to our parents before their fall ? 
To regain these, have philosophers been ever since aspiring ; 
but just as they are on the point of securing the precious secrets 
forever, the brief period of life is at an end ; they die, and with 
them all their wisdom and experience. fc Nothing/ as De Nuys- 
ment observes, 4 nothing is wanting for man's perfection but a 
longer life, less crossed with sorrows and maladies, to the at- 
taining of the full and perfect knowledge of things.' " 

At length Antonio so far gained on the heart of his patient, 
as to draw from him the outlines of his story. 

Felix de Vasques, the alchemist, was a native of Castile, and 
of an ancient and honorable line. Early in life he had married 
a beautiful female, a descendant from one of the Moorish fami- 
lies. The marriage displeased his father, who considered the 
pure Spanish blood contaminated by this foreign mixture. It 
is true, the lady traced her descent from one of the Abencer- 
rages, the most gallant of Moorish cavaliers, who had embraced 
the Christian faith on being exiled from the walls of Granada. 
The injured pride of the father, however, was not to be ap- 
peased. He never saw his son afterwards, and on dying left 
him but a scanty portion of his estate ; bequeathing the residue, 
in the piety aud bitterness of his heart, to the erection of con- 
vents, and the performance of masses for souls in purgatory. 
Don Felix resided for a long time in the neighborhood of Val- 
1 ad olid, in a state of embarrassment and obscurity. He devoted 
himself to intense study, having, while at the university of 
Salamanca, imbibed a taste for the secret sciences. He was 
enthusiastic and speculative ; he went on from one branch of 
knowledge to another, until he became zealous in the search 
after the grand Arcanum. 

He had at first engaged in the pursuit with the hopes of rais- 
ing himself from his present obscurity, and resuming the rank 
and dignity to which his birth entitled him ; but, as usual, it 
ended in absorbing every thought, and becoming the business 
of his existence. He was at length aroused from this mental 
abstraction, by the calamities of his household. A malignant 
fever swept off his wife and all his children, excepting an infaut 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. Ill 

daughter. These losses for a time overwhelmed and stupefied 
him. His home had in a manner died away from around him, 
and he felt lonely and forlorn. When his spirit revived within 
him, he determined to abandon the scene of his humiliation and 
disaster ; to bear away the child that was still left him beyond 
the scene of contagion, and never to return to Castile until he 
should be enabled to reclaim the honors of his line. 

He had ever since been wandering and unsettled in his abode ; 
sometimes the resident of populous cities, at other times of 
absolute solitudes. He had searched libraries, meditated on 
inscriptions, visited adepts of different countries, and sought to 
gather and concentrate the rays which had been thrown by vari- 
ous minds upon the secrets of alchemy. He had at one time 
travelled quite to Padua to search for the manuscripts of Pietro 
d'Abano, and to inspect an urn which had been dug up near 
Este, supposed to have been buried by Maximus Olybius, and 
to have contained the grand elixir. 1 

While at Padua, he had met with an adept versed in Arabian 
lore, who talked of the invaluable manuscripts that must remain 
in the Spanish libraries, preserved from the spoils of the Moor- 
ish academies and universities ; of the probability of meeting 
with precious unpublished writings of Geber, and Alfarabius, 
and Avicenna, the great physicians of the Arabian schools, who, 
it was well known, had treated much of alchemy ; but, above 
all, he spoke of the Arabian tablets of lead, which had recently 
been dug up in the neighborhood of Granada, and which, it was 
confidently believed among adepts, contained the lost secrets 
of the art. 

The indefatigable alchemist once more bent his steps for 
Spain, full of renovated hope. He had made his way to 
Granada : he had wearied himself in the study of Arabic, in 
deciphering inscriptions, in rummaging libraries, and exploring 
every possible trace left by the Arabian sages. 

In all his wanderings, he had been accompanied by Inez 
through the rough and the smooth, the pleasant and the ad- 
verse ; never complaining, but rather seeking to soothe his 
cares by her innocent and playful caresses. Her instruction 

1 This urn was found in 1533. It contained a lesser one, in which was a burning 
lamp betwixt two small vials, the one of gold, the other of silver, both of them full of a 
very clear liquor. On the largest was an inscription, stating that Maximus Olybius shut 
up in this small vessel elements which he had prepared with great toil. r l here were 
many disquisitions among the learned on the subject. It was the most received opinion, 
that this Maximus Olybius was an inhabitant of Padua, that he had discovered the great 
secret, and that these vessels contained liquor, one to traiiHmutc metals to gold, and other 
to silver. The peasants who found the urns, imagining this precious liquor to be com- 
mon water, spilt every drop, so that the art of trausmutiiig metals remains as much a 
secret as ever. 



112 BRACEBRWGE UALL. 

tad been the employment and the delight of his hours of relax- 
ation. She had grown up while they were wandering, and had 
scarcely ever known any home but by his side. He was family, 
friends, home, every thing to her. He had carried her in his 
arms, when they first began their wayfaring ; had nestled her, 
as an eagle docs its young, among the rocky heights of the Sierra 
Morena ; she had sported about him in childhood, in the soli- 
tudes of the Bateucas ; had followed him, as a lamb does the 
shepherd, over the rugged Pyrenees, and into the fair plains 
of Languedoc ; and now she was grown up to support his feeble 
steps among the ruined abodes of her maternal ancestors. 

His property had gradually wasted away, in the course of his 
travels and his experiments. Still hope, the constant attendant 
of the alchemist, had led him on ; ever on the point of reaping 
the reward of his labors, and ever disappointed. With the 
credulity that often attended his art, he attributed many of his 
disappointments to the machination of the malignant spirits 
that beset the paths of the alchemist and torment him in his 
solitary labors. " It is their constant endeavor," he observed, 
u to close up every avenue to those sublime truths, which 
would enable man to rise above the abject state into which he 
has fallen, and to return to his original perfection." To the 
evil offices of these demons, he attributed his late disaster. 
He had been on the very verge of the glorious discovery ; 
never were the indications more completely auspicious ; all was 
going on prosperously, when, at the critical moment which 
should have crowned his labors with success, and have placed 
him at the very summit of human power and felicity, the 
bursting of a retort had reduced his laboratory and himself to 
ruins. 

"I must now," said he, "give up at the very threshold of 
success. My books and papers are burnt ; m} r apparatus is 
broken. I am too old to bear up against these evils. The 
ardor that once inspired me is gone ; my poor frame is exhausted 
by study and watchfulness, and this last misfortune has hur- 
ried me towards the grave." He concluded in a tone of deep 
dejection. Antonio endeavored to comfort and reassure him ; 
but the poor alchemist had for once awakened to a conscious- 
ness of the worldly ills that were gathering around him, and 
had sunk into despondency. After a pause, and some thought- 
fulness and perplexity of brow, Antonio ventured to make a 
proposal. 

* fc I have long," said he, '* been filled with a love for the secret 
sciences, but have felt too ignorant and diffident to give myself 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 

up to them. You have acquired experience ; you have amassed 
the knowledge of a lifetime ; it were a pity it should be thrown 
away. You say you are too old to renew the toils of the labo- 
ratory ; suffer me to undertake them. Add your knowledge to 
my youth and activity, and what shall we not accomplish ? As 
a probationary fee, and a fund on which to proceed, I will bring 
into the common stock a sum of gold, the residue of a legacy, 
which has enabled me to complete my education. A poor scholar 
cannot boast much ; but I trust we shall soon put ourselves 
beyond the reach of want ; and if we should fail, why, I must 
depend, like other scholars, upon my brains to carry me through 
the world." 

The philosopher's spirits, however, were more depressed thau 
the student had imagined. This last shock, following in the 
rear of so many disappointments, had almost destroyed the 
reaction of his mind. The fire of an enthusiast, however, is 
never so low but that it may be blown again into a flame. By 
degrees, the old man was cheered and reanimated by the buoy- 
ancy and ardor of his sanguine companion. He at length 
agreed to accept of the services of the student, and once more 
to renew his experiments. He objected, however, to using 
the student's gold, notwithstanding that his own was nearly 
exhausted ; but this objection was soon overcome ; the student 
insisted on making it a common stock and common cause ; 
and then how absurd was any delicacy about such a trifle, with 
men who looked forward to discovering the philosopher's stone ! 

While, therefore, the alchemist was slowly recovering, the 
student busied himself in getting the laboratory once more in 
order. It was strewed with the wrecks of retorts and alembics, 
with old crucibles, boxes and phials of powders and tinctures, 
and half-burnt books and manuscripts. 

As soon as the old man was sufficiently recovered, the studies 
and experiments were renewed. The student became a privi- 
leged and frequent visitor, and was indefatigable in his toils in 
the laboratory. The philosopher daily derived new zeal and 
spirits from the animation of his disciple. He was now enabled 
to prosecute the enterprise with continued exertion, having so 
active a coadjutor to divide the toil. While he was poring over 
the writings of Sandivogius, and Philalethes, and Dominus de 
Nuysment, and endeavoring to comprehend the symbolical lan- 
guage in which they have locked up their mysteries, Antonio 
would occupy himself among the retorts and crucibles, and keep 
the furnace in a perpetual glow. 

With all his zeal, however, for the discovery of the golden 



114 mACEBRI&GE HALL. 



art, the feelings of the student had not cooled ad to the object 
that first drew him to this ruinous mansion. Dining the old 
man's illness, he had frequent opportunities of being near the 
daughter ; and every day made him more sensible to her charms. 
There was a pure simplicity, and an almost passive gentleness, 
in her manners; yet with ail this was mingled something, 
whether mere maiden shyness, or a consciousness of high de- 
scent, or a dash of Castilian pride, or perhaps all united, that 
prevented undue familiarity, and made her difficult of approach. 
The danger of her father, and the measures to be taken for his 
relief, had at first overcome this coyness and reserve ; but as 
he recovered and her alarm subsided, she seemed to shrink from 
the familiarity she had indulged with the youthful stranger, and 
to become every day more shy and silent. 

Antonio had read many books, but this was the first volume 
of womankind that he had ever studied. He had been capti- 
vated with the verj r title-page ; but the further he read, the 
more he was delighted. She seemed formed to love ; her soft 
black eye, rolled languidly under its long silken lashes, and 
wherever it turned, it would linger and repose ; there was ten- 
derness in every beam. To him alone she was reserved and 
distant. Now that the common cares of the sick-room were at 
an end, he saw little more of her than before his admission to 
the house. Sometimes he met her on his way to and from the 
laboratory, and at such times there was ever a smile and a 
blush ; but, after a simple salutation, she glided on and disap- 
peared. 

" 'Tis plain," thought Antonio, " my presence is indifferent, 
if not irksome to her. She has noticed my admiration, and is 
determined to discourage it ; nothing but a feeling of gratitude 
prevents her treating me with marked distaste and then has 
she not another lover, rich, gallant, splendid, musical? how can 
I suppose she would turn her eyes from so brilliant a cavalier, 
to a poor obscure student, raking among the cinders of her 
father's laboratory? " 

Indeed, the idea of the amorous serenader continually haunted 
his mind. He felt convinced that he was a favored lover ; yet, 
if so, why did he not frequent the tower? why did he 'not 
make his approaches by noon-day ? There was mystery in this 
eavesdropping and musical courtship. Surely Inez could not 
be encouraging a secret intrigue ! Oh ! no ! she was too art- 
less, too pure, too ingenuous ! But then the Spanish females 
were so prone to love and intrigue ; and music and moonlight 
were so seductive, and Inez had such a tender soul languishing 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 115 

in every look. "Oh ! " would the poor scholar exclaim, clasp* 
ing his hands, "oh, that I could but once behold those loving 
eyes beaming on me with affection ! M 

It is incredible to those who have not experienced it, on what 
scanty aliment human life and human love may be supported. 
A dry crust, thrown now and then to a starving man, will give 
him a new lease of existence ; and a faint smile, or a kind look, 
bestowed at casual intervals, will keep a lover loving on, when 
a man in his sober senses would despair. 

When Antonio found himself alone in the laboratory, his 
mind would be haunted by one of these looks, or smiles, which 
he had received in passing. He would set it in every possible 
light, and argue on it with all the self-pleasing, self-teasing 
logic of a lover. 

The country around him was enough to awaken that volup- 
tuousness of feeling so favorable to tho growth of passion. 
The window of the tower rose above the trees of the romantic 
valley of the Darro, and looked down upon some of the loveli- 
est scenery of the Vega, where groves of citron and orange 
were refreshed by cool springs and brooks of the purest water. 
The Xenel and the Darro wound their shining streams along 
the plain, and gleamed from among its bowers. The surround- 
ing hills were covered with vineyards, and the mountains, 
crowned with snow, seemed to melt into the blue sky. The 
delicate airs that played about the tower were perfumed by the 
fragrance of myrtle and orange-blossoms, and the ear was 
charmed with the fond warbling of the nightingale, which, in 
these happy regions, sings the whole day long. Sometimes, 
too, there was the idle song of the muleteer, sauntering along 
the solitary road ; or the notes of the guitar, from some group 
of peasants dancing in the shade. All these were enough to 
fill the head of the young lover with poetic fancies ; and Antonio 
would picture to himself how he could loiter among those happy 
groves, and wander by those gentle rivers, and love away his 
life with Inez. 

He felt at times impatient at his own weakness, and would 
endeavor to brush away these cobwebs of the mind. He would 
turn his thoughts, with sudden effort, to his occult studies, or 
occupy himself in some perplexing process ; but often, when he 
had partially succeeded in fixing his attention, the sound of 
Inez's lute, or the soft notes of her voice, would come stealing 
upon the stillness of the chamber, and, as it were, floating 
round the tower. There was no great art in her performance ; 
but Antonio thought he had never heard music comparable to 



116 BKACEBKIDGR HALL. 



It was perfect witchcraft to hear her warble forth some 
her national melodies ; those little Spanish romances and 
Moorish ballads, that transport the hearer, in idea, to the banks 
of the Guadalquivir, or the walls of the Alhambra, and make 
him dream of beauties, and balconies, and moonlight serenades. 

Never was poor student more sadly beset than Antonio. 
Love is a troublesome companion in a study, at the best of 
times ; but in the laboratory of an alchemist, his intrusion is 
terribly disastrous. Instead of attending to the retorts and 
crucibles, and watching the process of some experiment in- 
trusted to his charge, the student would get entranced in one 
of these love-dreams, from which he would often be aroused 
by some fatal catastrophe. The philosopher, on returning from 
his researches in the libraries, would find every thing gone 
wrong, and Antonio in despair over the ruins of the whole 
day's work. The old man, however, took all quietly, for his 
had been a life of experiment and failure. 

44 We must have patience, my son," would he say, "as all 
the great masters that have gone before us have had. Errors, 
and accidents, and delays are what we have to contend with. 
Did not Poutanus err two hundred times, before he could ob- 
tain even the matter on which to found his experiments? The 
great Flamel, too, did he not labor four-and-twenty years, 
before he ascertained the first agent? What difficulties and 
hardships did not Cartilaceus encounter, at the very threshold 
of his discoveries ? And Bernard de Troves, even after he had 
attained a knowledge of all the requisites, was he not delayed 
full three years? What you consider accidents, my son, are 
the machinations of our invisible enemies. The treasures and 
golden secrets of nature are surrounded by spirits hostile to 
man. The air about us teems with them. They lurk in the 
fire of the furnace, in the bottom of the crucible, and the 
alembic, and are ever on the alert to take advantage of those 
moments when our minds are wandering from intense medita- 
tion on the great truth that we are seeking. We must only 
strive tbe more to purify ourselves from those gross and earthly 
feelings which becloud the soul, and prevent her from piercing 
into nature's arcana." 

44 Alas ! " thought Antonio, "if to be purified from all earthly 
feeling requires that I should cease to love Inez, I fear I shall 
never discover the philosopher's stone ! " 

In this way, matters went on for some time, at the alche- 
mist's. Day after day was sending the student's gold in vapor 
op the chimney ; every blast of the furnace made him a ducat 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 117 

the poorer, without apparently helping him a jot nearer to the 
golden secret. Still the young man stood by, and saw piece 
after piece disappearing without a murmur: he had daily an 
opportunity of seeing Inez, and felt as if her favor would be 
better than silver or gold, and that every smile was worth a 
ducat. 

Sometimes, in the cool of the evening, when the toils of the 
laboratory happened to be suspended, he would walk with 
the alchemist in what had once been a garden belonging to the 
mansion. There were still the remains of terraces and balus- 
trades, and here and there a marble urn, or mutilated statue 
overturned, and buried among weeds and flowers run wild. It 
was the favorite resort of the alchemist in his hours of relaxa- 
tion, where he would give full scope to his visionary flights. 
His mind was tinctured with the Kosicrucian doctrines. He 
believed in elementary beings ; some favorable, others adverse 
to his pursuits ; and, in the exaltation of his fancy, had often 
imagined that he held communion with them in his solitary 
walks, about the whispering groves and echoing walls of this 
old garden. 

When accompanied by Antonio, he would prolong these 
evening recreations. Indeed, he sometimes did it out of con- 
sideration for his disciple, for he feared lest his too close ap*- 
plication, and his incessant seclusion in the tower, should be 
injurious to his health. He was delighted and surprised by this 
extraordinary zeal and perseverance in so young a tyro, and 
looked upon him as destined to be one of the great luminaries 
of the art. Lest the student should repine at the time lost in 
these relaxations, the good alchemist would fill them up with 
wholesome knowledge, in matters connected with their pursuits ; 
and would walk up and down the alleys with his disciple, im- 
parting oral instruction, like an ancient philosopher. In all his 
visionary schemes, there breathed a spirit of lofty, though chi- 
merical philanthropy, that won the admiration of the scholar. 
Nothing sordid nor sensual, nothing petty nor selfish, seemed 
to enter into his views, in respect to the grand discoveries he 
was anticipating. On the contrary, his imagination kindled 
with conceptions of widely dispensated happiness. He looked 
forward to the time when he should be able to go about the 
earth, relieving the indigent, comforting the distressed ; and, 
by his unlimited means, devising and executing plans for the 
complete extirpation of poverty, and all its attendant sufferings 
and crimes. Never were grander schemes for general good, for 
the distribution of boundless wealth and universal competence, 



118 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

devised than by this poor, indigent alchemist in his mined 
tower. 

Antonio would attend these peripatetic lectures with all the 
ardor of a devotee ; but there was another circumstance which 
may have given a secret charm to them. The garden was the 
resort also of Inez, where she took her walks of recreation ; 
the only exercise that her secluded life permitted. As Antonio 
was duteously pacing by the side of his instructor, he would 
often catch a glimpse of the daughter, walking pensively about 
the alleys in the soft twilight. Sometimes they would meet her 
unexpectedly, and the heart of the student would throb with 
agitation. A blush, too, would crimson the cheek of Inez, but 
still she passed on and never joined them. 

He had remained one evening until rather a late hour with 
the alchemist in this favorite resort. It was a delightful night 
after a sultry day, and the balmy air of the garden was pecul- 
iarly reviving. The old man was seated on a fragment of a 
pedestal, looking like a part of the ruin on which he sat. He 
was edifying his pupil by long lessons of wisdom from the 
stars, as they shone out with brilliant lustre in the dark-blue 
vault of a southern sky ; for he was deeply versed in Behmcu, 
and other of the Rosicrucians, and talked much of the signa- 
ture of earthly things and passing events, which may be dis- 
cerned in the heavens ; of the power of the stars over corporeal 
beings, and their influence on the fortunes of the sons of men. 

By degrees the moon rose and shed her gleaming light among 
the groves. Antonio apparently listened with fixed attention 
to the sage, but his ear was drinking in the melody of Inez's 
voice, who was singing to her lute in one of the moonlight 
glades of the garden. The old man, having exhausted his 
theme, sat gazing in silent reverie at the heavens. Antonio 
xjould not resist an inclination to steal a look at this coy beauty, 
who was thus playing the part of the nightingale, so sequestered 
and musical. Leaving the alchemist in his celestial reverie, he 
stole gently along one of the alleys. The music had ceased, 
and he thought he heard the sound of voices. He came to an 
angle of a copse that had screened a kind of green recess, or- 
namented by a marble fountain. The moon shone full upon 
the place, and by its light he beheld his unknown, serenading 
rival at the feet of Inez. He was detaining her by the hand, 
which he covered with kisses ; but at sight of Antonio he started 
up and half drew his sword, while Inez, disengaged, fled back 
to the house. 

All the jealous doubts and fears of Antonio were now con- 



TBS STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 119 

firmed. He did not remain to encounter the resentment of his 
happy rival at being thus interrupted, but turned from the place 
in sudden wretchedness of heart. That Inez should love an- 
other, would have been misery enough ; but that she should be 
capable of a dishonorable amour, shocked him to the soul. The 
idea of deception in so } r oung and apparently artless a being, 
brought with it that sudden distrust in human nature, so sick- 
ening to a youthful and ingenuous mind ; but when he thought 
of the kind, simple parent she was deceiving, whose affections 
all centred in her, he felt for a moment a sentiment of indigna- 
tion, and almost of aversion. 

He found the alchemist still seated in his visionary contem- 
plation of the moon. "Come hither, my son," said he, with 
his usual enthusiasm, " come, read with me in this vast volume 
of wisdom, thus nightly unfolded for our perusal. Wisely did 
the Chaldean sages affirm, that the heaven is as a mystic page, 
uttering speech to those who can rightly understand ; warning 
them of good and evil, and instructing them in the secret de- 
crees of fate." 

The student's heart ached for his venerable master ; and, for 
a moment, he felt the futility of his occult wisdom. "Alas! 
poor old man!" thought he, "of what avails all thy study? 
Little dost thou dream, while busied in airy speculations among 
the stars, what a treason against thy happiness is going on 
under thine eyes ; as it were, in thy very bosom ! Oh Inez ! 
Inez ! where shall we look for truth and innocence, where shall 
we repose confidence in woman, if even you can deceive? " 

It was a trite apostrophe, such as every lover makes when 
he finds his mistress not quite such a goddess as he had 
painted her. With the student, however, it sprung from hon- 
est anguish of heart. He returned to his lodgings, in pitiable 
confusion of mind. He now deplored the infatuation that had 
led him on until his feelings were so thoroughly engaged. He 
resolved to abandon his pursuits at the tower, and trust to 
absence to dispel the fascination by which he had been spell- 
bound. He no longer thirsted after the discovery of the grand 
elixir: the dream of alchemy was over; for, without Inez, 
what was the value of the philosopher's stone? 

He rose, after a sleepless night, with the determination of 
taking his leave of the alchemist, and tearing himself from 
Granada. For several days did he rise with the same resolu- 
tion, and every night saw him come back to his pillow, to 
repine at his want of resolution, and to make fresh determina- 
tions for the morrow. In the mean while, he saw less of luea 



Iftt BBACmmD&B HALL. 



than ever. She no longer walked in the garden, but remained 
almost entirely in her apartment. When she met him, she 
blushed more than usual ; and once hesitated, as if she would 
have spoken ; but, after a temporary embarrassment, and still 
deeper blushes, she made some casual observation, and retired. 
Antonio read, in this confusion, a consciousness of fault, and 
of that fault's being discovered. " What could she have 
wished to communicate? Perhaps to account for the scene in 
the garden ; but how can she account for it, or why should 
she account for it to me? What am I to her? or rather, 
what is she to me?" exclaimed he, impatiently, with a new 
resolution to break through these entanglements of the heart, 
and fly from this enchanted spot forever. 

He was returning that very night to his lodgings, full of this 
excellent determination, when, in a shadowy part of the road, 
he passed a person whom he recognized, by his height and 
form, for his rival : he was going in the direction of the tower. 
If any lingering doubts remained, here was an opportunity of 
settling them completely. He determined to follow this un- 
known cavalier, and, under favor of the darkness, observe his 
movements. If he obtained access to the tower, or in any way 
a favorable reception, Antonio felt as if it would be a relief to 
his mind, and would enable him to fix his wavering resolution. 

The unknown, as he came near the tower, was more cautious 
and stealthy in his approaches. He was joined under a clump 
of trees by another person, and they had much whispering 
together. A light was burning in the chamber of Inez ; the 
curtain was down, but the casement was left open, as the 
night was warm. After some time, the light was extinguished. 
A considerable interval elapsed. The cavalier and his com- 
panion remained under covert of the trees, as if keeping 
watch. At length they approached the tower, with silent and 
cautious steps. The cavalier received a dark-lantern from his 
companion, and threw off his cloak. The other then softly 
brought something from the clump of trees, which Antonio 
perceived to be a light ladder : he placed it against the wall, 
and the serenader gently ascended. A sickening sensation 
came over Antonio. Here was indeed a confirmation of every 
fear. He was about to leave the place, never to return, when 
he heard a stifled shriek from Inez's chamber. 

In an instant, the fellow that stood at the foot of the ladder 
lay prostrate on the ground. Antonio wrested a stiletto from 
his nerveless hand, and hurried up the ladder. He sprang in 
at the window, and found Inez struggling in the grasp of his 



THE 8TVDB&T Of SALAMANCA. 121 

fancied rival ; the latter, disturbed from his prey, caught up 
iiis lantern, turned its light full upon Antonio, and, drawing 
his sword, made a furious assault ; luckily the student saw the 
light gleam along the blade, and parried the thrust with the 
stiletto. A fierce, but unequal combat ensued. Antonio fought 
exposed to the full glare of the light, while his antagonist was 
in shadow : his stiletto, too, was but a poor defence against 
a rapier. He saw that nothing would save him but closing 
with his adversary, and getting within his weapon : he rushed 
furiously upon him, and gave him a severe blow with the 
stiletto ; but received a wound in return from the shortened 
sword. At the same moment, a blow was inflicted from behind, 
by the confederate, who had ascended the ladder ; it felled him 
to the floor, and his antagonists made their escape. 

By this time, the cries of Inez had brought her father and 
the domestic into the room. Antonio was found weltering in 
his blood, and senseless. lie was conveyed to the chamber of 
the alchemist, who now repaid in kind the attentions which 
the student had once bestowed upon him. Among his varied 
knowledge he possessed some skill in surgery, which at this 
moment was of more value than even his chemical lore. He 
stanched and dressed the wounds of his disciple, which on ex- 
amination proved less desperate than he had at first appre- 
hended. For a few days, however, his case was anxious, and 
attended with danger. The old man watched over him with 
the affection of a parent. He felt a double debt of gratitude 
towards him, on account of his daughter and himself ; he loved 
him too as a faithful and zealous disciple ; and he. dreaded lest 
the world should be deprived of the promising talents of so 
aspiring an alchemist. 

An excellent constitution soon medicined his wounds ; and 
there was a balsam in the looks and words of Inez, that had a 
healing effect on the still severer wounds which he carried in 
his heart. She displayed the strongest interest in his safety ; 
she called him her deliverer, her preserver. It seemed as if 
her grateful disposition sought, in the warmth of its acknowl- 
edgments, to repay him for past coldness. But what most 
contributed to Antonio's recovery, was her explanation con- 
cerning his supposed rival. It was some time since he had first 
beheld her at church, and he had ever since persecuted her 
with his attentions. He had beset her in her walks, until she 
had been obliged to confine herself to the house, except when 
accompanied by her father. He had besieged her with letters, 
serenades, and every art by which he could urge a vehement, 



182 B R AC EB RIDGE BALL. 

but clandestine and dishonorable suit. The scene in the garden 
was as much of a surprise to her as to Antonio. Her perse- 
cutor had been attracted by her voice, and had found his way 
over a ruined part of the wall. He had come upon her una- 
wares ; was detaining her by force, and pleading his insulting 
passion, when the appearance of the student interrupted him, 
and enabled her to make her escape. She had forborne to 
mention to her father the persecution which she suffered ; she 
wished to spare him unavailing anxiety and distress, and had 
determined to confine herself more rigorously to the house; 
though it appeared that even here she had not been safe from 
his daring enterprise. 

Antonio inquired whether she knew the name of this impet- 
uous admirer? She replied that he had made his advances 
under a fictitious name ; but that she had heard him once 
called by the name of Don Ambrosio de Loxa. 

Antonio knew him, by report, for one of the most determined 
and dangerous libertines in all Granada. Artful, accomplished, 
and, if he chose to be so, insinuating ; but daring and headlong 
in the pursuit of his pleasures ; violent and implacable in his 
resentments. He rejoiced to find that Inez had been proof 
against his seductions, and had been inspired with aversion by 
his splendid profligacy ; but he trembled to think of the clangers 
she had run, and he felt solicitude about the dangers that must 
yet environ her. 

At present, however, it was probable the enemy had a tem- 
porary quietus. The traces of blood had been found for some 
distance from the ladder, until they were lost among thickets ; 
and as nothing had been heard or seen of him since, it was 
concluded that he had been seriously wounded. 

As the student recovered from his wounds, he was enabled 
to join Inez and her father in their domestic intercourse. The 
chamber in which they usually met had probably been a saloon 
of state in former times. The floor was of marble ; the wails 
partially covered with remains of tapestry ; the chairs, richly 
carved and gilt, were crazed with age, and covered with tar- 
nished and tattered brocade. Against the wall hung a long 
rusty rapier, the only relic that the old man retained of the 
chivalry of his ancestors. There might have been something 
to provoke a smile, in the contrast between the mansion and 
its inhabitants ; between present poverty and the graces of 
departed grandeur; but the fancy of the student had thrown 
so much romancembout the edifice and its inmates, that every 
thing was clothe dwith charms. The philosopher, with his 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 123 

broken-down pride, and his strange pursuits, seemed to com- 
port with the melancholy ruin he inhabited; and there was a 
native elegance of spirit about the daughter, that showed she 
would have graced the mansion in its happier days. 

What delicious moments were these to the student! Inez 
was no longer coy and reserved. She was naturally artless 
and confiding ; though the kind of persecution she had experi- 
enced from one admirer had rendered her, for a time, suspi- 
cious and circumspect toward the other. She now felt an en- 
tire confidence in the sincerity and worth of Antonio, mingled 
with an overflowing gratitude. When her eyes met his, they 
beamed with sympathy and kindness ; and Antonio, no longer 
haunted by the idea of a favored rival, once more aspired to 
success. 

At these domestic meetings, however, he had little opportu- 
nity of paying his court, except by looks. The alchemist, sup- 
posing him, like himself, absorbed in the study of alchemy, 
endeavored to cheer the tediousness of his recovery by long 
conversations on the art. He even brought several of his half- 
burnt volumes, which the student had once rescued from the 
flames, and rewarded him for their preservation, by reading 
copious passages. He would entertain him with the great and 
good acts of Flamel, which he effected through means of the 
philosopher's stone, relieving widows and orphans, founding 
hospitals, building churches, and what not ; or with the inter- 
rogatories of King Kalid, and the answers of Morienus, the 
Roman hermit of Hierusalem ; or the profound questions which 
Elardus, a necromancer of the province of Catalonia, put to 
the devil, touching the secrets of alchemy, and the devil's 
replies. 

All these were couched in occult language, almost unintelli- 
gible to the unpractised ear of the disciple. Indeed, the old 
man delighted in the mystic phrases and symbolical jargon in 
which the writers that have treated of alchemy have wrapped 
their communications ; rendering them incomprehensible ex- 
cept to the initiated. With what rapture would he elevate his 
voice at a triumphant passage, announcing the grand discovery ! 
"Thou shalt see," would he exclaim, in the words of Henry 
Kuhnrade, 1 " the stone of the philosophers (our king) go forth 
of the bed-chamber of his glassy sepulchre into the theatre of 
this world; that is to say, regenerated and made perfect, a 
shining carbuncle, a most temperate splendour, whose most 

Amphitheatre of the Eternal Wisdom. 



124 BRACES RIDGE MALL. 

subtle and depurated parts are inseparable, united into one 
with a concord ial mixture, exceeding equal, transparent as 
crystal, shining red like a ruby, permanently colouring or ring- 
ing, fixt in all temptations or tryals ; yea, in the examination 
of the burning sulphur itself, and the devouring waters, and in 
the most vehement persecution of the fire, always incombusti- 
ble and permanent as a salamander ! ' ' 

The student had a high veneration for the fathers of alchemy, 
and a profound respect for his instructor ; but what was Henry 
Kuhnrade, Geber, Lully, or even Albertus Magnus himself, 
compared to the countenance of Inez, which presented such a 
page of beauty to his perusal? While, therefore, the good 
alchemist was doling out knowledge by the hour, his disciple 
would forget books, alchemy, every thing but the lovely object 
before him. Inez, too, unpractised in the science of the heart, 
was gradually becoming fascinated by the silent attentions of 
her lover* Day by day, she seemed more and more perplexed 
by the kindling and strangely pleasing emotions of her bosom. 
Her eye was often cast down in thought. Blushes stole to her 
cheek without any apparent cause, and light, half -suppressed 
sighs would follow these short fits of mnsing. Her little bal- 
lads, though the same that she had always sung, yet breathed 
a more tender spirit. Either the tones of her voice were more 
soft and touching, or some passages were delivered with a feel- 
ing she had never before given them. Antonio, beside his love 
for the abstruse sciences, had a pretty turn for music ; and 
never did philosopher touch the guitar more tastefully. As, by 
degrees, he conquered the mutual embarrassment that kept 
them asunder, he ventured to accompany Inez in some of her 
songs. He had a voice full of fire and tenderness : as he sang, 
one would have thought, from the kindling blushes of his com- 
panion, that he had been pleading his own passion in her ear. 
Let those who would keep two youthful hearts asunder, beware 
of music. Oh ! this leaning over chairs, and conning the same 
music-book, and intwining of voices, and melting away in 
harmonies ! the German waltz is nothing to it. 

The worthy alchemist saw nothing of all this. His mind 
could admit of no idea that was not connected with the dis- 
covery of the grand arcanum, and he supposed his youthful 
coadjutor equally devoted. He was a mere child as to humair 
nature ; and, as to the passion of love, whatever he might once 
-have felt of it, he had long since forgotten that there was sucb 
an idle passion in existence. But, while he dreamed, the silent 
amour went on. The very quiet and seclusion of the place 



THE 8TVDE2TT Of SALAMANCA. 125 

were favorable to the growth of romantic passion. The open- 
ing bud of love was able to put forth leaf by leaf, without an 
adverse wind to check 'its growth. There was neither officious 
friendship to chill by its advice, nor insidious envy to wither 
by its sneers, nor an observing world to look on and stare it 
'out of countenance. There was neither declaration, nor vow, 
nor any other form of Cupid's canting school. Their hearts 
mingled together, and understood each other without the aid 
of language. They lapsed into the full current of affection, 
unconscious of its depth, and thoughtless of the rocks that 
might lurk beneath its surface. Happy lovers! who wanted 
nothing to make their felicity complete, but the discovery of 
the philosopher's stone ! 

At length, Antonio's health was sufficiently restored to ena- 
ble him to return to his lodgings in Granada. He felt uneasy, 
however, at leaving the tower, while lurking danger might 
surround its almost defenceless inmates. He dreaded lest Don 
Ambrosio, recovered from his wounds, might plot some new 
attempt, by secret art, or open violence. From all that he had 
heard, he knew him to be too implacable to suffer his defeat to 
pass unavenged, and too rash and fearless, when his arts were 
unavailing, to stop at any daring deed in the accomplishment 
of his purposes. He urged his apprehensions to the alchemist 
and his daughter, and proposed that they should abandon the 
dangerous vicinity of Granada. 

** I have relations, " said he, u in Valentia, poor indeed, but 
worthy and affectionate. Among them you will find friendship 
and quiet, and we may there pursue our labors unmolested." 
He went on to paint the beauties and delights of Valentia, 
with all the fondness of a native, and all the eloquence with 
which a lover paints the fields and groves which he is picturing 
as the future scenes of his happiness. His eloquence, backed 
by the apprehensions of Inez, was successful with the alchemist, 
who, indeed, had led too unsettled a life to be particular about 
the place of his residence ; and it was determined, that, as 
soon as Antonio's health was perfectly restored, they should 
abandon the tower, and seek the delicious neighborhood of 
Valentia. 1 

1 Here are the strongest silks, the sweetest wines, the excel lent'st almonds, the best 
oyls, and beautifnll'st females of all Spain. The very bruit animals make themselves 
beds of rosemary, and other fragrant flowers hereabouts; and when one is at sea, if the 
winde blow from the shore, he may smell this soyt before he comes in sight of it, many 
leagues off, by the strong odoriferous scent it casts. As it is the most pleasant, so it if 
also the terapcrut'st clime of all Spain, and they commonly call it the second Italy; 
which made th Moors, whereof many thousands were diterr*d, and haniah'd h*ne to 
fja"bary, to think that Paradise was in that part of the heavens which huag ever this 
citle. HOWELL'S Letters. 



126 BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 

To recruit Bis strength, the student suspended his toils In the 
laboratory, and spent the few remaining days, before departure, 
in taking a farewell look at the enchanting environs of Granada. 
He felt returning health and vigor, as he inhaled the pure tem- 
perate breezes that play about its hills; and the happy state 
of his mind contributed to his rapid recovery. Inez was often 
the companion of his walks. Her descent, by the mother's side, 
from one of the ancient Moorish families, gave her an interest 
in this once favorite seat of Arabian power. She gazed with 
enthusiasm upon its magnificent monuments, and her memory 
Was filled with the traditional tales and ballads of Moorish 
chivalry. Indeed, the solitary life she had led, and the vision- 
ary turn of her father's mind, had produced an effect upon her 
character, and given it a tinge of what, in modern days, would 
be termed romance. All this w^s called into full force by this 
new passage ; for, when a woman first begins to love, life is all 
romance to her. 

In one of their evening strolls, they had ascended to the 
mountain of the Sun, where is situated the Generalise, the 
palace of pleasure, in the days of Moorish dominion, but now a 
gloomy convent of Capuchins. They had wandered about its 
garden, among groves of orange, citron, and cypress, where 
the waters, leaping in torrents, or gushing in fountains, or 
tossed aloft in sparkling jets, fill the air with music and fresh- 
ness. There is a melancholy mingled with all the beauties of 
this garden, that gradually stole over the feelings of the lovers. 
The place is full of the sad story of past times. It was the 
favorite abode of the lovely queen of Granada, where she was 
surrounded by the delights of a gay and voluptuous court. It 
was here, too, amidst her own bowers of roses, that her slan- 
derers laid the base story of her dishonor, and struck a fatal 
blow to the line of the gallant Abencerrages. 

The whole garden has a look of ruin and neglect. Many of 
the fountains are dry and broken ; the streams have wandered 
from their marble channels, and are choked by weeds and yel- 
low leaves. The reed whistles to the wind, where it had once 
sported among roses, and shaken perfume from the orange-^ 
blossom. The convent-bell flings its sullen sound, or the* 
drowsy vesper-hymn floats along these solitudes, which once 
resounded with the song, and the dance, and the lover's sere- 
bade. Well may the Moors lament over the loss of this earthly 
paradise; well may they remember it in their prayers, and 
beseech Heaven to restore it to the faithful; well may their 
fcmbassadors smite their breasts when they behold these monu- 



THE &TV&XNT OF 8ALAM&NCA. 12T 



ments of their race, and sit dawn and weep among the fading 
glories of Granadni 

It is impossible to wander about these scenes of departed love 
and gayety, and not feel the tenderness of the heart awakened. 
It was then that Antonio first ventured to breathe his passion, 
and to express by words what his eyes had long since so elo 
quently revealed* He made his avowal with fervor, but with 
frankness. He bad no gay prospects to hold out : he was a 
poor scholar, dependent on his u good spirits to feed and clothe 
him." But a woman in love is no interested calculator. Inez 
listened to him with downcast eyes, but in them was a humid 
gleam that showed her heart was with him. She had no pru- 
dery in her nature ; and she had not been sufficiently in society 
to acquire it. She loved him with all the absence of world* 
liness of a genuine woman ; and, amidst timid smiles and 
blushes, he drew from her a modest acknowledgment of her 
affection. 

They wandered about the garden, with that sweet intoxica- 
tion of the soul which none but happy lovers know. The world 
about them was all fairy land ; and, iudeed, it spread forth one 
of its fairest scenes before their eyes, as if to fulfil their dream 
of earthly happiness. They looked out from between groves of 
orange, upon the towers of Granada below them ; the magnifi- 
cent plain of the Vega beyond, streaked with evening sunshine, 
and the distant hills tinted with rosy and purple hues: it 
seemed an emblem of the happy future, that love and hope 
were decking out for them. 

As if to make the scene complete, a group of Andalusians 
struck up a dance, in one of the vistas of the garden, to the 
guitars of the two wandering musicians. The Spanish music is 
wild and plaintive, yet the people dance to it with spirit and 
enthusiasm. The picturesque figures of the dancers ; the girls 
with their hair in silken nets that hung in knots and tassels 
down their backs, their mantillas floating round their graceful 
forms, their slender feet peeping from under their basquinas, 
their* arms tossed up in the air to play the castanets, had a 
beautiful effect on this airy height, with the rich evening land- 
scape spreading out below them. 

When the dance was ended, two of the parties approached 
Antonio and Inez ; one of them began a soft and tender Moorish 
ballad, accompanied by the other on the lute. It alluded to 
the story of the garden, the wrongs of the fair queen of Gra- 
nada, and the misfortunes of the Abencerrages. It was one of 
those old ballads that abound in this part of Spain, and live* 



128 . .; BRACEB&I&&JZ BALL. 

tike echoes, about the ruins of Moorish greatness. The heart 
of Inez was at that moment open to every tender impression ; the 
tears rose into her eyes, as she listened to the tale. The singer 
approached nearer to her ; she was striking in her appearance ; 
young, beautiful, with a mixture of wildness and melancholy 
in her fine black eyes. She fixed them mournfully and expres- 
sively on Inez, and, suddenly varying her manner, sang another 
ballad, which treated of impending danger and treachery. All 
this might have passed for a mere accidental caprice of the 
ginger, had there not been something in her look, manner, and 
gesticulation that made it pointed and startling. 

Inez was about to ask the meaning of this evidently personal 
application of the song, when she was interrupted by Antonio, 
who gently drew her from the place. Whilst she had been lost 
in attention to the music, he had remarked a group of men, in 
the shadows of the trees, whispering together. They were 
enveloped in the broad hats and great cloaks so much worn by 
the Spanish, and, while they were regarding himself and Inez 
attentively, seemed anxious to avoid observation. Not know- 
ing what might be their character or intention, he hastened to 
quit a place where the gathering shadows of evening might 
expose them to intrusion and insult. On their way down the 
hill, as they passed through the wood 'of elms, mingled with 
poplars and oleanders, that skirts the road leading from the 
Allmmbra, he again saw these men apparently following at a 
distance ; and he afterwards caught sight of them among the 
trees on the banks of the Darro. He said nothing on the sub- 
ject to Inez, nor her father, for he would not awaken unneces- 
sary alarm ; but he felt at a loss how to ascertain or to avert any 
machinations that might be devising against the helpless inhab- 
itants of the tower. 

He took his leave of them late at night, full of this perplex- 
ity. As he left the dreary old pile, he saw some one lurking in 
the shadow of the wall, apparently watching his movements. 
He hastened after the figure, but it glided away, and disap- 
peared among some ruins. Shortly after he heard a- low 
whistle, which was answered from a little distance. He had no 
longer a doubt but that some mischief was on foot, and turned 
to hasten back to the tower, and put its inmates on their guard. 
He had scarcely turned, however, before he found himself sud- 
denly seized from behind by some one of Herculean strength. 
His struggles were in vain ; he was surrounded by armed men. 
One threw a mantle over him that stifled his cries, and enveloped 
him in its folds ; and he was hurried off with irresistible rapidity. 



THE STU&E&T OF SALAMANCA. 129 

The next day passed without the appearance of Antonio at 
the alchemist's. Another, and another day succeeded, and yet 
he did not come ; nor had any thing been heard of him at his 
lodgings. His absence caused, at first, surprise and conjecture, 
and at length alarm. Inez recollected the singular intimations 
of the ballad-singer upon the mountain, which seemed to warn 
her of impending danger, and her mind was full of vague 
forebodings. She sat listening to every sound at the gate, or 
footstep on the stairs. She would take up her guitar and strike 
a few notes, but it would not do ; her heart was sickening with 
suspense and anxiety. She had never before felt what it was 
to be really lonety. She now was conscious of the force of that 
attachment which had taken possession of her breast ; for never 
do we know how much we love, never do we know how neces- 
sary the object of our love is to our happiness, until we ex- 
perience the weary void of separation. 

The philosopher, too, felt the absence of his disciple almost 
as sensibly as did his daughter. The animating buoyancy of 
the youth had inspired him with new ardor, and had given to 
his labors the charm of full companionship. However, he had 
resources and consolations of which his daughter was destitute. 
His pursuits were of a nature to occupy every thought, and 
keep the spirits in a state of continual excitement. Certain 
indications, too, had lately manifested themselves, of the most 
favorable nature. Forty days and forty nights had the process 
gone on successfully ; the old man's hopes were constantlj' 
rising, and he now considered the glorious moment once more 
at hand, when he should obtain not merely the major lunaria, 
but likewise the tinctura Solaris, the means of multiplying 
gold, and of prolonging existence. He remained, therefore, 
continually shut up in his laboratory, watching his furnace; 
for a moment's inadvertency might once more defeat all his 
expectations. 

He was sitting one evening at one of his solitary vigils, 
wrapped up in meditation ; the hour was late, and his neighbor, 
the owl, was hooting from the battlement of the tower, when 
he heard the door open behind him. Supposing it to be his 
daughter coming to take her leave of him for the night, as was 
her frequent practice, he called her by name, but a harsh voice 
met his ear in reply. He was grasped by the arms, and, look- 
ing up, perceived three strange men in the chamber. He at* 
tempted to shake them off, but in vain. He called for help, 
but they scoffed at his cries. " Peace, dotard!" cried one: 
44 tliiak'st thou the servants of the most holy inquisition 



aae r BBACEBKWQE 

mre to bfe daunted by thy clamors? Comrades, away with 
toil" 

Without heeding his remonstrances and entreaties, they 
seized upon his books and papers, took some note of the apart- 
ment, and the utensils, and then bore him off a prisoner. 

Inez, left to herself, had passed a sad and lonely evening; 
seated by a casement whicli looked into the garden, she had 
pensively watched star after star sparkle out of the blue depths 
of the sky, and was indulging a crowd of anxious thoughts 
about her lover, until the rising tears began to flow. She was 
suddenly alarmed by the sound of voices, that seemed to come 
from a distant part of the mansion, There was, not long after, 
a noise of several persons descending the stairs. Surprised at 
these unusual sounds in their lonely habitation, she remained 
for a few moments in a state of trembling, yet indistinct appre- 
hension, when the servant rushed into the room, with terror in 
her countenance, and informed her that her father was carried 
off by armed men. 

Inez did not stop to hear further, but flew down-stairs to 
overtake them. She had scarcely passed the threshold, when 
she found herself in the grasp of strangers. " Away ! 
away!" cried she, wildly, "do not stop me let me follow 
my father." 

44 We come to conduct you to him, senora," said one of the 
men, respectfully. 

44 Where is he, then?" 

44 He is gone to Granada," replied the man : " an unexpected 
circumstance requires his presence there immediately ; but he 
is among friends." 

44 We have no friends in Granada," said Inez, drawing back ; 
but then the idea of Antonio rushed into her mind ; something 
relating to him might have called her father thither. 4t Is Senor 
Antonio de Castros with him? " demanded she, with agitation. 

44 1 know not, senora," replied the man. k4 It is very possible. 
I only know that your father is among friends, and is anxious 
for you to follow him." 

44 Let us go, then," cried she, eagerly. The men led her a 
little distance to where a mule was waiting, and, assisting her 
to mount, they conducted her slowly towards the city. 

Granada was on that evening a scene of fanciful revel. It 
was one of the festivals of the Maestranza, an association of 
the nobility to keep up some of the gallant customs of ancient 
chivalry* There had been a representation of a tournament in 
one of the squares ; the streets would still occasionally resound 



THE 8TUDENT OF SALAMANCA. ISl 

with the beat of a solitary drum, or the bray of a trumpet from 
some straggling party of revellers. Sometimes they were met 
by cavaliers, richly dressed in ancient costumes, attended by 
their squires ; and at one time they passed in sight of a palace 
brilliantly illuminated, from whence came the mingled sounds 
of music and the dance. Shortly after, they came to the square 
where the mock tournament had been held. It was thronged 
by the populace, recreating themselves among booths and stalls 
where refreshments were sold, and the glare of torches showed 
the temporary galleries, and gay-colored awnings, and armorial 
trophies, and other paraphernalia of the show. The conductors 
of Inez endeavored to keep out of observation, and to traverse 
a gloomy part of the square ; but they were detained at one 
place by the pressure of a crowd surrounding a party of wander- 
ing musicians, singing one of those ballads of which the Spanish 
populace are so passionately fond. The torches which were 
held by some of the crowd, threw a strong mass of light upon 
Inez, and the sight of so beautiful a being, without mantilla or 
veil, looking so bewildered, and conducted by men who seemed 
to take no gratification in the surrounding gayety, occasioned 
expressions of curiosity. One of the ballad-singers approached, 
and striking her guitar with peculiar earnestness, began to sing 
a doleful air, full of sinister forebodings. Inez started with 
surprise. It was the same ballad-singer that had addressed her 
in the garden of the Generaliffe. It was the same air that she 
had then sung. It spoke of impending dangers ; they seemed, 
indeed, to be thickening around her. She was anxious to speak 
with the girl, and to ascertain whether she really had a knowl- 
edge of any definite evil that was threatening her ; but, as she 
attempted to address her, the mule, on which she rode, was 
suddenly seized, and led forcibly through the throng by one 
of her conductors, while she saw another addressing menacing 
words to the ballad-singer. The latter raised her hand with a 
gesture, as Inez lost sight of her. 

While she was yet lost in perplexity, caused by this singular 
occurrence, they stopped at the gate of a large mansion. One 
of her attendants knocked, the door was opened, and they en- 
tered a paved court. u Where are we? " demanded Inez, with 
anxiety. " At the house of a friend, senora," replied the man. 
44 Ascend this staircase with me, and in a moment you will 
meet your father." 

They ascended a staircase, that led to a suite of splendid 
apartments. They passed through several, until they came to 
an inner chamber. The door opened some one approached ; 



182 BRACE BRIDGE HALL. 



what was her terror at perceiving, not her father, but Don 
Ambrosio ! 

The men who had seized upon the alchemist, had, at least, 
been more honest in their professions. They were, indeed, 
familiars of the inquisition. He was conducted in silence to 
the gloomy prison of that horrible tribunal. It was a mansion 
whose very aspect withered joy, and almost shut out hope. It 
was one of those hideous abodes which the bad passions of men 
conjure up in this fair world, to rival the fancied dens of de- 
mons and the accursed. 

Day after day went heavily by, without any thing to mark 
the lapse of time, but the decline and reappearance of the light 
that feebly glimmered through the narrow window of the dun- 
geon in which the unfortunate alchemist was buried rather 
than confined. His mind was harassed with uncertainties and 
fears about his daughter, so helpless and inexperienced. He 
endeavored to gather tidings of her from the man who brought 
his daily portion of food. The fellow stared, as if astonished 
at being asked a question in that mansion of silence and mys- 
tery, but departed without saying a word. Every succeeding 
attempt was equally fruitless. 

The poor alchemist was oppressed by many griefs ; and it 
was not the least, that he had been again interrupted in his la- 
bors on the very point of success. Never was alchemist so 
near attaining the golden secret a little longer, and all his 
hopes would have been realized. The thoughts of these disap- 
pointments afflicted him more even than the fear of all that he 
might suffer from the merciless inquisition. His waking thoughts 
would follow him into his dreams. He would be transported in 
fancy to his laboratory, busied again amoug retorts and alem- 
bics, and surrounded by Lully, by D'Abano, by Olybius, and the 
other masters of the sublime art. The moment of projection 
would arrive ; a seraphic form would rise out of the furnace, 
holding forth a vessel containing the precious elixir ; but, be- 
fore he could grasp the prize, he would awake, and find himself 
in a dungeon. 

All the devices of inquisitorial ingenuity were employed to 
insnare the old man, and to draw from him evidence that might 
be brought against himself, and might corroborate certain se- 
cret information that had been given against him. He had 
been accused of practising necromancy and judicial astrology, 
and a cloud of evidence had been secretly brought forward to 
substantiate the charge. It would be tedious to enumerate all 
.the circumstances, apparently corroborative, which had been 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 130 

industriously cited by the secret accuser. The silence which 
prevailed about the tower, its desolateuess, the very quiet of 
its inhabitants, had been adduced as proofs that something sin- 
ister was perpetrated within. The alchemist's conversations 
and soliloquies in the garden had been overheard and misrepre- 
sented. The lights and strange appearances at night, in the 
tower, were given with violent exaggerations. Shrieks and 
yells were said to have been heard from thence at midnight, 
when, it was confidently asserted, the old man raised familiar 
spirits by his incantations, and even compelled the dead to rise 
from their graves, and answer to his questions. 

The alchemist, according to the custom of the inquisition, 
was kept in complete ignorance of his accuser ; of the witnesses 
produced against him ; even of the crimes of which he was ac- 
cused. He was examined generally, whether he knew why he 
was arrested, and was conscious of any guilt that might deserve 
the notice of the holy office ? He was examined as to his coun- 
try, his life, his habits, his pursuits, his actions, and opinions. 
The old man was frank and simple in his replies ; he was con- 
scious of no guilt, capable of no art, practised in no dissimula- 
tion. After receiving a general admonition to bethink himself 
whether he had not committed an}' act deserving of punishment, 
and to prepare, by confession, to secure the well-known mercy 
of the tribunal, he was remanded to his cell. 

He was now visited in his dungeon by crafty familiars of the 
inquisition ; who, under pretence of sympathy and kindness, 
came to beguile the tediousness of his imprisonment with 
friendly conversation. They casually introduced the subject 
of alchemy, on which they touched with great caution and pre- 
tended indifference. There was no need of such craftiness. 
The honest enthusiast had no suspicion in his nature : the mo- 
ment they touched upon his favorite theme, he forgot his mis- 
fortunes and imprisonment, and broke forth into rhapsodies 
about the divine science. 

The conversation was artfully turned to the discussion of 
elementary beings. The alchemist readily avowed his belief 
in them ; and that there had been instances of their attending 
upon philosophers, and administering to their wishes. He 
related many miracles said to have been performed by Apol- 
lonius Th}-aneus, through the aid of spirits or demons ; inso- 
much that he was set up by the heathens in opposition to the 
Messiah; and was even regarded with reverence by many 
Christians. The familiars eagerly demanded whether he be- 
lieved Apollouius to be a true and worthy philosopher. The 



unaffected piety of the alchemist protected him even in the 
midst of his simplicity ; for he condemned Apollonius as a sor- 
cerer and an impostor. No art could draw from him an admis- 
sion that he had ever employed or invoked spiritual agencies in 
the prosecution of his pursuits, though he believed himself to 
have been frequently impeded by their invisible interference.. 

The inquisitors were sorely vexed at not being able to inveigle 
him into a confession of a criminal nature ; they attributed their 
failure to craft, to obstinacy, to every cause but the right one, 
namely, that the harmless visionary had nothing guilty to con- 
fess. They had abundant proof of a secret nature against him ; 
but it was the practice of the inquisition to endeavor to procure 
confession from the prisoners. An auto da fe* was at hand ; 
the worthy fathers were eager for his conviction, for they were 
always anxious to have a good number of culprits condemned 
to the stake, to grace these solemn triumphs. He was at length 
brought to a final examination. 

The chamber of trial was spacious and gloomy. At one end 
was a huge crucifix, the standard of the inquisition. A long 
table extended through the centre of the room, at which sat 
the inquisitors and their secretary; at the other end, a stool 
was placed for the prisoner. 

He was brought in, according to custom, bare-headed and 
bare-legged. He was enfeebled by confinement and affliction ; 
by constantly brooding over the unknown fate of his child, and 
the disastrous interruption of his experiments. He sat bowed 
down and listless ; his head sunk upon his breast ; his whole 
appearance that of one u past hope, abandoned, and by himself 
given over." 

The accusation alleged against him was now brought for- 
ward in a specific form ; he was called upon by name, Felix de 
Vasquez, formerly of Castile, to answer to the charges of necro- 
mancy and demonology. He was told that the charges were 
amply substantiated ; and was asked whether he was ready, by 
full confession, to throw himself upon the well-known mercy 
of the holy inquisition. 

The philosopher testified some slight surprise at the nature 
of the accusation, but simply replied, " I am innocent." 

" What proof have you to give of your innocence ! " 

" It rather remains for you to prove your charges," said the 
old man. " I am a stranger and a sojonrner in the land, and 
know no one out of the doors of my dwelling. I can give 
nothing in my vindication but the word of a nobleman and a 
Castiiian." 



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. 

The inquisitor shook his head, and went on to re|>eat the 
various inquiries that had before been made as to his mode of 
life and pursuits. The poor alchemist was too feeble and too 
weary at heart to make any but brief replies. He requested 
that some man of science might examine his laboratory, and all 
his books and papers, by which it would be made abundantly 
evident that he was merely engaged in the study of alchemy. 

To this the inquisitor observed, that alchemy had become a 
mere covert for secret and deadly sins. That the practisers of 
it were apt to scruple at no means to satisfy their inordinate 
greediness of gold. Some had been known to use spells and 
impious ceremonies ; to conjure the aid of evil spirits ; nay, 
even to sell their souls to the enemy of mankind, so that they 
might riot in boundless wealth while living. 

The poor alchemist had heard all patiently, or, at least, pas- 
sively. He had disdained to vindicate his name otherwise 
than by his word ; he had smiled at the accusations of sorcery, 
when applied merely to himself; but when the sublime art, 
which had been the study and passion of his life, was assailed, 
he could no longer listen in silence. His head gradually rose 
from his bosom ; a hectic color came in faint streaks to his 
cheek ; played about there, disappeared, returned, and at 
length kindled into a burning glow. The clammy dampness 
dried from his forehead ; his e}*es, which had nearly been 
extinguished, lighted up again, and burned with their wonted 
and visionary fires. He entered into a vindication of his fa- 
vorite art. His voice at once was feeble and broken ; but it 
gathered strength as he proceeded, until it rolled in a deep and 
sonorous volume. He gradually rose from his seat, as he rose 
with his subject ; he threw back the scanty black mantle which 
had hitherto wrapped his limbs ; the very uncouthness of his 
form and looks gave an impressive effect to what he uttered ; 
it was as though a corpse had become suddenly animated. 

He repelled with scorn the aspersions cast upon alchemy by 
the ignorant and vulgar. He affirmed it to be the mother of 
all art and science, citing the opinions of Paracelsus, Sandi- 
vogius, Raymond Lully, and others, in support of his asser- 
tions. He maintained that it was pure and innocent and 
honorable both in its purposes and means. What were its 
objects ? The perpetuation of life and youth, and the produc* 
tion of gold. "The elixir vitae," said he, "is no charmed 
potion, but merely a concentration of those elements of vitality 
which nature has scattered through her works. The philoso- 
pher's stone, or tincture, or powder, as it is variously called, is 



BRACEBRIDGE HALL. 



no necromantic talisman, but consists simply of those particles 
which gold contains within itself for its reproduction ; for gold, 
like other things, has its seed within itself, though bound up 
with inconceivable firmness, from the vigor of innate fixed 
salts and sulphurs. In seeking to discover the elixir of life, 
then," continued he, " we seek only to apply some of nature's 
own specifics against the disease aud decay to which our bodies 
are subjected ; and what else does the physician, when he tasks 
his art, and uses subtle compounds and cunning distillations, 
to revive our languishing powers, and avert the stroke of death 
for a season ? 

44 In seeking to multiply the precious metals, also, we seek 
but to germinate and multiply, by natural means, a particular 
species of nature's productions ; and what else does the hus- 
bandman, who consults times and seasons, and, by what might 
be deemed a natural magic, from the mere scattering of his 
hand, covers a whole plain with golden vegetation ? The mys- 
teries of our art, it is true, are deeply and darkly hidden ; but 
it requires so much the more innocence and purity of thought, 
to penetrate unto them. No, father ! the true .alchemist must 
be pure in mind and body ; he must be temperate, patient, 
chaste, watchful, meek, humble, devout. ' My son,' says 
Hermes Trismegestes, the great master of our art, 4 my son, I 
recommend you above all things to fear God/ And indeed it 
is only by devout castigation of the senses, and purification of 
the soul that the alchemist is enabled to enter into the sacred 
chambers of truth. * Labor, pray, and read,' is the motto of 
our science. As De Nuysment well observes, 4 These high and 
singular favors are granted unto none, save only unto the 
sons of God, (that is to say, the virtuous and devout,) who, 
under his paternal benediction, have obtained the opening of 
the same, by the helping hand of the queen of arts, divine 
Philosophy.' Indeed, so sacred has the nature of this knowl- 
edge been considered, that we are told it has four times been 
expressly communicated by God to man, having made a part of 
that cabalistical wisdom which was revealed to Adam to con- 
sole him for the loss of Paradise ; and to Moses in the bush, 
and to Solomon in a dream, and to Esclras by the angel. 

44 So far from demons and malign spirits being the friends 
and abettors of the alchemist, they are the continual foes with 
which he has to contend. It is their constant endeavor to shut 
up the avenues to those truths which would enable him to rise 
above the abject state into which he has fallen*, and return to 
that excellence which was his original birthright. For what 



THE 8TUDE&T OF SALAMANCA. 187 

would he the effect of this length of days, and this abundant 
wealth, hut to enable the possessor to go oil from art to art, 
from science to science, with energies unimpaired by sickness, 
uninterrupted by death ? For this have sages and philosophers 
shut themselves up in cells and solitudes ; buried themselves in 
caves and dens of the earth; turning from the joys of life, 
and the pleasance of the world ; enduring scorn, poverty, per- 
secution. For this was Raymond Lully stoned to death in 
Mauritania. For this did the immortal Fietro D'Abano suffer 
persecution at Padua, and, when he escaped from his oppressors 
by death, was despitefully burnt in effigy. For this have illus- 
trious men of all nations intrepidly suffered martyrdom. For 
this, if unmolested, have they assiduously employed the latest 
hour of life, the expiring throb of existence ; hoping to the last 
that they might yet seize upon the piize for which they had 
struggled, and pluck themselves back even from the very jaws 
of the grave ! 

44 For, when once the alchemist shall have attained the object 
of his toils ; when the sublime secret shall be revealed to his 
gaze, how glorious will be the change in his condition ! How 
will he emerge from his solitary retreat, like the sun breaking 
forth from the darksome chamber of the uight, and daiting his 
beams throughout the earth ! Gifted with perpetual youth and 
boundless riches, to what heights of wisdom may he attain ! 
How may he carry on, uninterrupted, the thread of knowledge, 
which has hitherto been snapped at the death of each philoso- 
pher ! And, as the increase of wisdom is the increase of virtue, 
how may he become the benefactor of his fellow-men ; dis- 
pensing, with liberal but cautious aud discriminating hand, 
that inexhaustible wealth which is at his disposal ; banishing 
poverty, which is the cause of so much sorrow and wickedness ; 
encouraging the arts ; promoting discoveries, and enlarging all 
the means of virtuous enjoyment ! His life will be the connect- 
ing band of generations. History will live in his recollection ; 
distant ages will speak with his tongue. The nations of the 
earth wi